If you have a loved one that is still with us or has gone on before you, yet you would like to pay tribute to them. Feel free to share a photo with us. Email your request to: outreach@LifesReDesignMinistry.org 

Image description

A Life Given

 

            To everything there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven;

A time to be born, and a time to die;

A time to plant and a time to pluck up that which is planted;

                                                Eccles. 3: 1-2

 

            Leo C. Chase Jr., the son of Leo C. Chase Sr. and Pauline C. Chase, was born on June 30, 1942 in Jacksonville, Fl.  He came forth at this time for a specific purpose that only he could fill.

            As we look back at his life and all the events as they unfolded, we see that Leo was on a “fast pace” all of his life.  It is only now that we understand that his life’s pace was that way because he would only be here for a very short period of time.

            Early in his childhood you could see that he had a zest for life.  He was always happy and wanted to see those around him feel the same way.

            Leo began his formal education at the St. Pius Catholic School in Jacksonville, Florida.  Although living in Jacksonville, he spent most weekends and breaks from school in St. Augustine at the Huff Funeral Home where his father was employed as Funeral Director.  His father later opened his own place of business, the Chase Funeral Home and it was there that Leo first displayed his lack of fear of the dead by offering to escort two adult ladies who were afraid to enter the chapel, to view the remains of their friend.  Leo was sitting in the lobby when he over heard them speaking of their fear.  He walked over to the ladies and offered to escort them in.  He was only 5 years old at the time.  The ladies were so embarrassed by the fact that a small child had more courage than they had, but they allowed him to walk them in.  This act was probably his introduction into the family business.

            Leo continued his formal education and moved on from the St. Pius Catholic School to the Davis Street School (renamed Isaiah Blocker).  During this time he continued to travel to St. Augustine as often as possible.

            In his 9th grade year, he met Richard Black.  This meeting developed into a life long relationship and a bond closer than some blood related members.  They were best friends and did everything together.  From that point on, when Leo left for St. Augustine his friend Richard Black was there with him.  In St. Augustine, Leo had another friend David Thomas that he also spent time with.  David lived just behind the funeral home and spent a lot of time at the funeral home.

            Leo and Richard moved on from Isaiah Blocker to the 10th grade where they attended the 45th St. High School.  It was there that Leo and his friend Richard were instrumental in the renaming of the school to The Northwestern High School and it’s team the Yellow Jackets, with black and yellow being there colors.  They knew of Northwestern in Miami and they thought that since their school was located in the northwest part of town that Northwestern would be a very fitting name.  Their suggestion was accepted and the school was renamed Northwestern.

            After the school was renamed, Leo’s father took Leo and Richard shopping where they had a school jacket designed for the two of them.  These jackets served as the models for the schools team jacket.  They proudly wore those jackets and received a lot of recognition because of them.

            For the remainder of their high school times, Leo and Richard were in the same home room.  They both joined the football team and were members of the “Y”.  Their popularity soared around the school.

            In the evenings just to pass the time, Richard, another friend “A.C”, and Leo would get together under the street light and sing all of their favorite tunes.  Richard recalls that they thought they were pretty good! Somehow word got out about them singing and during lunch they would get called to the stage to perform.  They thought they were stars!!

            During their senior year, Leo was named best dressed by his class.  This was an honor that he really appreciated because he had always taken pride in his appearance.

            After graduation, Leo returned to St. Augustine where he worked at the funeral home.  Although working there, his zest for life could not be contained in the walls of the funeral home.  His desire to make a difference was expressed by his joining the U.S. Army in 1963.

            In 1964 Leo Sr. became ill.  Both Leo and his older brother Arnett were away in the Army.  There father needed someone to come home and assist him with running the business.  Leo Jr. made a decision that Arnett, who was drafted into the Army prior to Leo joining, but whose entry was delayed until after his departure because of mortician certification, should be the one to return to assist in running the business.  A request was made to the Army and in May of 1965 Arnett returned home.

The Viet Nam campaign as it was called was pulling a lot of our youths from home.  Leo left to fight a war that was never called a war that nobody understood, against a people that he didn’t know, in a place that he knew nothing about but he had to go…he had to go because it was HIS destiny.  We all have a place called destiny that we must go on a date we will not miss.  Leo met his destiny with only 5 days left in the country.  Normally you would be pulled from duty in that time frame but these were not normal times.

            Before Leo left, he did what he had done all his life, the thing that he did best, the thing that I feel he was placed here to do…he gave!  He gave us something that we can hold on to forever.  He gave us something far greater than his presence could have ever given:

He reminded us of the importance of GIVING.  Throughout his life he gave.  He was the type of person that would give you the shirt off his back if you needed it.  In Viet Nam he left doing the same thing he came here to do…give!  He made the ultimate sacrifice and gave his life!!

He reminded us to LOVE.  His love for people and the spirit that he had touched the lives of so many people.  We should follow that example and touch those that we can to help make this a better place.

He taught us that RELATIONSHIPS are DEAR.  His on time but seemingly early departure shows us that we know not how long we will have that person or persons in our presence so cherish them always.

He taught us that TIME is relative.  It is not the length of time but the quality of its use that will be important at the end.

He taught us that the END IS JUST THE BEGINNING and if we prepare for it properly we need not worry.

 

Now, for the KEEPERS OF HIS ESSENCE…HIS CHILDREN

Michael, his oldest, Janice and Janet, the twins and Carla, the baby of the bunch

For you he left a perfect message!  A message that would never be tarnished by the trials and tribulations of life, A message that would always be the same and never change.

By his absence from your lives HE TAUGHT-

You to be strong and independent

By his memory HE TEACHES that time is not yours to control so respect it. 

 

They say that hindsight is 20/20.  So as we look back and see clearly, we celebrate the life of an instructor.  Leo was a great instructor who stopped by for just a little while so that he could show us a way that our lives could be a little bit better.  Because of his visit, all of our lives have been enriched!!

 

Your “DASH” between the dates was well spent.  We vow to make an attempt daily to improve our lives and the lives of those around us by using the tools you left with us.  We Love you and because of that love...You will LIVE forever!

 

Love Your Brother,

    William