By Ed Zagorski
JUNEAU -- A friend of Juneau has died.
Alderman Clarence "Butch" Chase, who would've turned 75 at month's end, died while sleeping July 4.
"It was kind of a shock to hear," said Juneau Mayor Dan Wegener. "He could still work like a 40-year-old even at his age."
Wegener said he worked with Chase for 45 years.
"I will miss him tremendously," Wegener said. "I first began seeing him when I was in high school."
Wegener said he and Chase, a former carpenter, would regularly cross paths after Wegener became a licensed electrician. Wegener began wiring the homes built by Chase-Fehrman Construction, which Chase co-owned.
The Juneau mayor said he served with Chase or as he was commonly known, "Butch" on the city's fire department.
"He was on there for more than 25 years," Wegener said. "Butch was one of the city's first EMTs."
Wegener also said Chase served on the Juneau Common Council every decade going back to the 1970s. He devoted much of his life to public safety.
"He sacrificed a great deal of time and sweat for Juneau," Wegener said. "He was a real promoter of the city. He lived for Juneau."
Juneau Police Chief Dave Beal echoed those remarks.
"He left his mark on the city," Beal said. "He was very involved in Juneau and loved the city."
Beal said he sat on his Public Safety Committee.
"He was a big supporter of public safety," Beal said. "He was a part-time police officer for Juneau and an officer for the sheriff's department about 40 years ago."
Beal said a person always knew where he or she stood with Chase.
"When he talked with you, he would say things in a manner you could understand," Beal said. "He didn't talk down to you, but he said it in a way it should be said. He didn't mince his words. And if you wanted his respect you earned it by being a diligent and hardworking person."
Beal said he is going to miss his friend of more than 35 years.
"He was always smiling, especially when he talked about his grandchildren," Beal said. "He just beamed."
Paul Marose, who knew Chase for 40 years, said he respected him.
"As a former council member and assistant city attorney, I respected 'Butch' Chase certainly as a councilman because he was not afraid to ask the hard questions and bring about change," Marose said. "There were times when we disagreed. Butch wasn't one afraid to confront the issues. There were times he would say to me, 'I should've voted with you on that issue.' He was always thinking about the city and you knew it because he read the council packets and came prepared to the meetings. I'm going to miss him. He was just a real good guy. Juneau will miss him."
Butch is survived by his wife, Donna of Juneau; sons: Jody (Debbie) and grandson Adam of Beaver Dam. Also, his son Nick (Catherine) of Aurora, Colorado, with their children Maddie (Rayne) Carlson, Tristin, Nicholaus, Aiden and Meghan all of Colorado. He was blessed with a great-grandson in April of this year. He is also survived by stepson Justin (Casey) Teichmiller of Beaver Dam along with grandchildren Kaedon, Gavin and Ollie; one stepdaughter, Kristin (Charles) Hollweck; grandchildren Mike and Max of Appleton; and one sister, Judy Arbogast of Watertown.
Visitation will be held at St. John's Evangelical Lutheran Church in Juneau from 3 to 6 p.m. on Friday with a service to follow. The Rev. Paul Schupmann will officiate. Graveside services will be held at Juneau City Cemetery at 9:30 a.m. on Saturday.