It is with great sadness that the family of William “Bill” Warren Chase announces his death on Friday, June 25, 2021, at his Corey Lake family home of 91 years and the only place he would have wanted to be, surrounded by his wife, Charlene; son, Curtis; daughters, Sandra and Jennifer; and his companion poodle, Hannah.
Born on July 30, 1930, in Oak Park, he attended Oak Park and River Forest High School, where he met his sweetheart bride of nearly 67 years, Charlene Lois (Johnson). While growing up in Oak Park, he couldn’t wait to spend any chance he could at his family’s lake home on Corey Lake, in Three Rivers, Michigan, which he referred to as his paradise. The seven-hour journey from the Chicago-area to the lake was worth every minute spent on the water, fishing, swimming, sailing and boating. He perfected his love of water skiing, including teaching beginners and his participation in Corey Lake water ski shows. He joined the swim team in high school and continued his swimming career while at North Central College, in Naperville.
Before relocating to Michigan, he operated a successful vending company and home security company along with his son while residing in River Forest.
He belonged to numerous clubs and served on many boards, including Oak Park YMCA and Service Club of Oak Park. In Michigan, he served on the board of YMCA Camp Eberhart and was also an active member on the St. Joseph County Planning Commission, Fabius Township Board of Appeals, St. Joseph County Conservation Club and Rotary Club. He served as president of the Corey Lake Association and was commodore of the Corey Lake Yacht Club.
Spending time duck hunting with his uncle in Michigan led him to become a professional skeet shooting instructor at Sunset Ridge Country Club in Northbrook, where he taught enthusiasts and celebrities, including Paul Harvey. He also shot competitively, winning several trophies at the Oak Park Country Club.
He also loved the sport of curling, representing the state of Illinois in the men’s national curling championships in both Fairbanks, Alaska and Quebec, Canada and in the mixed doubles curling championships with his wife, Charlene. Together they won numerous awards over nearly three decades.
He enjoyed woodworking and restoring antique furniture, but none more special than a complete restoration of a 1955 Chris-Craft, with his son, born of the same year. “On Golden Pond” led many a Fourth of July boat parade, a wonderful memory for his family and those who knew him.
After relocating to Michigan, he went to work for the Michigan Department of Transportation for 12 years, where he enjoyed being a part of the infrastructure keeping roads safe for travel until his retirement at age 72.
Favorite memories of Bill by fellow Corey Lakers included his meticulous attention to detail growing the perfect lawn and manicuring the steep hill facing the lake, with an engineered lawnmower on ropes, which he maneuvered up and down the hill, donning a red bandana, jeans and bare feet. King of the raft was another special pastime, and he enjoyed every summer spent with the kids on the lake, being “everyone’s dad.”
Bill’s life spanned six generations at Corey Lake. He is survived by his wife, Charlene; his three children, Curtis, Sandra and Jennifer; his twin grandsons, Kyle and Matthew (Rachel) Bloch; his great-granddaughter, Finley Jane; his brother, James (Patricia) and sister, Mary; two sisters-in-law, Carole White and Dorothy Cole; and many nieces and nephews and great-nieces and -nephews.
In his honor, please join us in a toast with your families to celebrate his legacy and for you to remember what made him special to you.
Memorial donations in Bill’s honor to benefit YMCA Camp Eberhart, Corey Lake Camp Scholarships-Project 132 may be directed to Hohner Funeral Home, 1004 Arnold Street, Three Rivers, MI 49093. Online condolences may be shared at www.hohnerfh.com.