Al Chase: 1942-2014Longtime writer had straightforward styleBy Cindy Luis
Retired Honolulu Star-Bulletin sports writer Al Chase was known for his attention to detail, accuracy of statistics and a straightforward style of writing that reflected his New England upbringing. Baseball and soccer were the perfect sports for him to cover, games played between the lines with honor and rules.
Much like a soccer player taking a penalty shot, Chase didn't hesitate when it came to making a call as the official scorekeeper at University of Hawaii baseball games or when falling in love. Less than a year after he met UH student Lydia "Lee" Hironaga, the two were married in 1968.
They were together until Thursday when Al died at Kaiser Hospital following a long battle with a blood disorder. He would have been 72 next Tuesday.
On Thursday, Lee Chase laughed at the memories of the brief courtship, which was punctuated by Al's surprise proposal during a rainstorm in the middle of cane field near Honomu on the Hamakua Coast.
"My father loved him from the beginning," Lee Chase said of the late Chikara Hironaga. "When we came back in and told him we were getting married, he said that Al was a 'gooda boy.'
"And he was. Just a kind man, a heart of gold, a wonderful husband and father and grandfather. He loved his two grandchildren and tried very hard to hang on. At least they got to know him."
Chase instilled a love of soccer in his oldest grandchild, Noah, who was a year old at the time of his grandfather's retirement in 2007.
During his retirement party in the newsroom, Chase said one number stood out: 39. That was the number of years he had been married as well as worked at the Star-Bulletin.
Alan Reed Chase was born April 1, 1942, in Boston and was raised in Mansfield, Mass. He graduated from the University of Hawaii with a degree in physical education and a minor in East Asian Studies. While a student, he helped form the UH men's soccer club team and competed in men's leagues for a number of years.
Chase also taught and coached soccer at several Oahu high schools, including Kalani and Kailua.
In 2009, he was named the 35th recipient of the Wilbur Snypp Award by the National Collegiate Baseball Writers Association for outstanding contributions to college baseball. Chase, who began covering UH baseball in 1968, introduced the first NCBWA poll in the 1970s and established the criteria the NCAA now uses for the annual active and retired baseball coaches career lists.
He also served as NCBWA vice president and his name is on the Snypp Award plaque at the College Baseball Hall of Fame in Lubbock, Texas.
In addition to his wife, Chase is survived by daughter Lisha Moffat; son-in-law Gavin; grandchildren Noah and Maya; brother Philip Chase, sister Corinee Tozier, and niece Sarah Chase.
Services are pending.
Our deepest condolences to the family and friends of the deceased