Leslie Huyck Chase Jr., aged 83, passed away peacefully surrounded by his family on Saturday, December 16, 2017. Les was born on October 4, 1934 in Oak Park, Illinois to Leslie H. Sr., and Mary Chase. He graduated from Canoga Park High School in Canoga Park, CA and from Pierce College with an Associate Degree in Agriculture. Les had a deep love of aviation and had earned his pilot’s license prior to his service in the United States Air Force. After the Air Force, he worked for Rocketdyne in Canoga Park, CA building rocket engines. He proudly helped build the Atlas Sustainer and A-6 engines that helped carry Alan Shepard into space. He went on to own a successful landscaping business for almost 20 years before working as a turbine engine technician and pipeline inspector which took him all over the world for the remainder of his career. In retirement, Les continued to fly private planes and found great joy in volunteering at the Kalamazoo Air Zoo restoring planes and rocket engines, including the engines he built for Rocketdyne. Les is survived by his wife of 18 years, Betty, and five children: Michael, Carole Wyatt, Amy O’Brien, Caryn Ellis, and Estee Hodge; nine grandchildren and two great-grandchildren; brothers, Jim, Bill, and sister Mary.
In accordance with family wishes cremation will be conducted and there will be no public services held at this time. In lieu of flowers, donations can be made in Les’ name to the Kalamazoo Air Zoo or the ASPCA. Online condolences may be shared at www.hohnerfh.com.