Publisher Richard J. Chase Sr. transformed newspaper, town

  • The late Richard J. Chase Sr., shown here in flight gear, was awarded the Air Medal and Distinguished Flying Cross for his 104 combat missions during World War II. Contributed phot0

For the Athol Daily News
Published: 7/7/2020 5:26:58 PM
Modified: 7/7/2020 5:26:52 PM

Richard J. Chase Sr., retired publisher of the Athol Daily News, died Friday morning, July 3, at his home in Athol. He lived to be 97 years old.

Mr. Chase was well known in Athol as a loyal businessman and broad-minded publisher of the Athol Daily News. From 1950 until his retirement in 1988, Mr. Chase was instrumental in the growth of the Athol Daily News during a time when printing technologies transformed from linotype (a process of producing lines of words on metal that could be melted down and reused) to offset printing and then to computer-driven technology. With the transition to offset printing, Mr. Chase moved the business from its original Main Street location to what was previously the A&P grocery store on Exchange Street.

The Athol Daily News under the aegis of Mr. Chase was more than a source of local and national news. The Athol Daily News became an important institution for Athol. Readership was strong. In its heyday, the Athol Daily News had a circulation of some 5,000 copies daily and was a valued employer. Mr. Chase cared about the people he hired and remembered their names long after they moved on. Anyone who entered his office was given his undivided attention. He was open to suggestions and encouraged his employees to develop their own ideas.

The welfare of the town of Athol was always important to Mr. Chase. In his younger days, he was involved in social and business communities. He took on the roles of president of the Kiwanis Club and Chamber of Commerce. He was a member of the Elks Club and the Lions Club. Mr. Chase acted as Chairman to the Advisory Board of Blue Cross Blue Shield and was active on the board of directors of the Athol Memorial Hospital. He also worked on the advisory board for the Salvation Army.

Before coming to Athol, Mr. Chase interrupted his college studies to serve his country as a gunner in the US Marine Corps during World War II. He participated in 104 combat missions and was awarded the Air Medal and the Distinguished Flying Cross. In a citation signed by James L. Janes, Commandant of the Marine Corps, Mr. Chase is praised for “his undaunted courage, superb airmanship, and unyielding devotion to duty in the face of hazardous flying conditions.” The citation further states, “Sergeant Chase reflected great credit upon himself and upheld the highest traditions of the Marine Corps and the United States Naval Service.”

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