After a long, hard-fought battle, John P. “Jack” Chase, Jr. passed away at the Sheridan Hospital on Sept. 5, 2019, with his family by his side.
Jack was born on a small farm in Canton, MA, on July 2, 1934 to Barbara and John P. Chase. He grew up in a large family with an older brother, George, and four sisters: Barbara, Anna, Sally, and Laura. There was never a dull moment. He was surrounded by the farm animals. At a young age Jack went to Teepee Lodge in the Big Horns with his family, and from that point on Jack knew he wanted to live in the West and be a cowboy.
He attended Milton Academy and graduated in 1952. He then headed west, thwarting his family’s desire that he attend Harvard. He spent a semester at the University of Colorado then transferred to Colorado A & M. He spent two years there, then joined the army. He was stationed at Fort Bliss in Texas. He returned to Colorado in 1956 but Colorado A&M was now Colorado State University (CSU). Sadly, they were no longer the Aggies. At CSU, he joined the Rodeo Club to hone his calf roping skills. He also attended a session at Toots Mansfield’s Roping School in Texas.
After graduating from college with a degree in animal science, Jack worked on numerous ranches in Texas and Oklahoma. In 1960, the lease on Buffalo Creek Land Company came up, and Jack took it over. Formerly owned and operated by Dr. Whedon, the land was then primarily used for sheep and had innumerable small buildings; it was called Whedonville. Jack began tearing down unnecessary structures, worked on building the cow herd, improving fences, and developing water accessibility.
In 1962, he met Gini Hardy who was visiting from the East. They were married in February 1963. Gini moved to the ranch with him to live in one of the original houses. There was running water, but no telephone or electricity. The power line came in not long after, and a phone line a year later just before their son John was born in 1964. They then moved into a new house on the ranch which they lived in, with some modifications, until his death. Their daughter Lolly, (Elizabeth) was born in 1966, and their son Galen in 1968. As his children grew, they became an important part of the ranch, and they brought him great joy. Many, many summers were spent working on innumerable 4-H animals.
The cows that came with the ranch were Herefords, and Jack began replacing them with Black Angus. In the late 1960s he became interested in Red Angus. In 1972, Gini bought the first Red Angus females, and together with their family they gradually increased the purebred herd to become one of the breed’s leading herds, with successful sales every year.
Jack was extremely active in the Red Angus Association and served two terms as a director, then two terms as president. He served on the board of the Beef Improvement Federation (BIF), then was President 1990-91. He received the BIF Continuing Service Award in 1992. In 1992 he and Gini were given the BIF Pioneer Breeder Award.
During their time in the Red Angus Association, they were the only two-time winner of the Breeder of the Year award, in 1988 and 2002; and the only two-time winner of the Distinguished Service Award, in 1993 and 2009. They were selected for the Pioneer Breeder Award in 1997. At its 50th Anniversary Celebration the breed recognized them as being one of its Fifty Most Influential Breeders.
Jack was an active member of his community. He served on the board and then as President of School District #3, (Arvada/Clearmont). He served on the Whitney Benefits Board of Trustees for 42 years from 1972 to 2004. To date, he is the longest serving member on that board. As a board member, Jack was very instrumental in getting the ice rink in Sheridan. He also served on the Board of the YMCA.
Jack was passionate about his ranch and he was never happy when he was away from it, hence there were never many vacations. He loved the mornings, and being on a good horse, especially one that would watch a cow, had a big, fast trot, and could go all day. He was always happiest when he was in the saddle on his ranch, on a favorite horse, with a couple of his faithful dogs running along beside him.
Jack was extremely competitive and loved most sports, but hockey was his favorite. There were many winter evenings he would leave home at 7:30 and drive sixty miles to play at the outdoor rink. He would get home after midnight. He loved it. In 2006 Sheridan Hockey gave him an award as “the Most Inspirational Player.”
Jack loved weather and the worse it was the better he liked it. He maintained a National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) weather station and dutifully recorded daily highs, lows and precipitation for over fifty years. There were other things that could be left undone, but never the weather recording. In 2004, NOAA named Jack as the recipient of the Edward H. Stoll Award for fifty years of outstanding service in the Cooperative Weather Observer Program.
Jack loved his family, and he was loved by them. He was preceded in death by his parents, and by his sister Anna and his brother George. He is survived by his wife, Gini; his three children: John, (Karen); Lolly (Dave) Wagner, and Galen (Jill); and seven much adored grandchildren: Caroline and Jack Chase; Elizabeth, Lucy and Eleanor Wagner; and Peyton and Olivia Chase; and by four sisters: Barbara (Chuck) Harwood, Sally Flynn, Laura Crocker (Jane), Louly Chase and one brother, Willard Chase.
Jack’s family wants to thank Shelley Born and her staff at Devoted to Home; the staff at Westview; and the staff at Sheridan’s Memorial Hospital for the care, respect and devotion they gave to Jack. They all helped make his final time much easier.
Jack’s service was held at St. Peter’s Episcopal Church, on Saturday, September 14, at 4:00 pm. It was followed by a reception at the ice rink.
Donations in Jack’s memory may be made to: The Food Group, P.O. Box 6702, Sheridan, WY 82801; Sheridan County 4-H, University of Wyoming Extension – Sheridan County, 3401 Coffeen Avenue, Watt Agriculture Center, Sheridan, WY 82801; Sheridan On Skates, M & M Center, 475 E Brundage St, Sheridan, WY 82801, or the Sheridan County Dog and Cat Shelter, 84 E Ridge Rd, Sheridan, WY 82801.