The Edith Stewart Chase Foundation

The purpose of the Edith Stewart Chase Foundation is to grant emergency financial assistance to retired educators who confront an economic crisis.

Picture of Edith Stewart Chase

Edith Stewart Chase

A handwritten sign is posted on the front window of her white colonial home overlooking Berry Pond in Pittsfield, New Hampshire. We learned from her neighbors that it was probably the last time that Edith Chase entered her favorite place to stay - her 187 year old farmhouse on the hillside.

The sign posts a reward for the identity of vandals who entered her home and ransacked it to the degree that violated her spirit and left her unable to enter it again. We were told that after that senseless rampage - and evidence of the destruction remains -Edith would drive there to stay but the indignity she felt would cause her to remain huddled in her car for the night. Sometimes she would walk around the outside peering inside and her footsteps in the snow gave evidence to the belief that entry, for her, was impossible.

Our knowledge of Edith Stewart Chase is constructed from the memories of her neighbors and colleagues. The myriad of notes from friends bears testimony to her friendship and generosity. Her papers show the legacy of her profession! Like most of us who taught Edith seldom rid herself of papers, notes, cards, and letters that give us some ideas about the person she was. Most of the notes speak to a gesture of kindness or the receipt of a gift. Many, from her mother, were written to speak of a need to see Edith, or to seek a solution to the problems of life about her - which Edith would resolve.

Professional training for Edith began at the Massachusetts College of Art and continued when she enrolled for a Master's degree at Boston University. Her first position was in Hartford, Connecticut where she remained until the desire to be home in Boston brought her to the Waltham Public Schools in 1963 until her retirement in 1973.

As a teacher, she is described by her principal, G. Lorne MacArthur:
"A quiet, highly dedicated teacher of art, she cheerfully fulfilled all assigned duties. Her room was always neat and attractive. She would stay long beyond the regular school hours, determined to have her room ready for the next day. Her students won many honors in a11 types of competition.

"She was a caring person and always exhibited a gracious smile. She was popular with her peers, respected by the parents, and beloved by her students. When all her duties had been performed faithfully, she would quietly leave the school."

And, in this same quiet manner, Edith passed away in her family home on Chestnut Street, Beacon Hill, where she lived with her sister Nathalie Tumbridge. During a chilly March evening, a defect in the flue caused a smoky back-up and both sisters were overcome. Edith died that night and her sister, a month later. They were buried together in a family plot in her beloved Pittsfield, New Hampshire.
In her will, Edith left a bequest to MRTA for assistance to members in need. Her legacy for members of her profession creates in us the determination to carry out her wishes through "The Edith Stewart Chase Foundation" with the same dedication that she showed during her lifetime.

                                                          Loretta L. Frissora

We gratefully acknowledge the information we received from the following friends and colleagues of Edith Chase: Virginia M. Betts, G. Lorne MacArthur, Paul Shea, and Peggy Weldon.