Samuel C. Chase Jr., 52, quarry superintendent

May 28, 1999|By Frederick N. Rasmussen | Frederick N. Rasmussen,SUN STAFF

Samuel C. Chase Jr., an official in the sand and gravel industry and an antiques collector, died Sunday of cancer at his Pasadena home. He was 52.

Mr. Chase had worked more than 20 years in the sand and gravel industry.

At his death, he was plant superintendent at Lafarge Corp.'s quarrying operations in Chase, owned and operated by Redland Genstar until last year.

A casual dresser who favored striped oxford shirts and blue jeans, he started his career in 1966 as a heavy-equipment operator for the former J. E. Owens Co., a landscape developer.

Mr. Chase collected miniature 19th- and early 20th-century coal and kerosene oil lamps and was restoring a 1965 Oldsmobile 442 when he was diagnosed with cancer last year. Earlier, he had completely restored and sold a 1942 Oldsmobile coupe.

His wife of 12 years, the former E. Sue Greever, also shared his interest in antiques and, for years, the couple bought and sold oak furniture, pottery and glassware that was made from the 1900s to the 1940s.

His interest in lamps began when his future wife was given a miniature oil lamp by her mother and she confessed to knowing very little about them.

Their collection grew to 300 lamps that used whale oil or kerosene for fuel, and they traveled from Maine to California and to Ireland to collect them.

The diminutive lamps were made of various types of glass, or had brass bases and glass shades. They are 2 1/2 to 10 inches high and date from the 1840s to about 1910.

They were mass-produced and made predominantly of glass. Varieties included satin, milk, colored, swirled or clear glass, Mrs. Chase said.

"They were used in boudoirs, sick rooms and were often called courting or sparking lamps," she said. "Young couples used the lamps to reassure mom and dad that no improprieties were going on in the parlor.

"Sam's favorite lamp was a sunflower-type of lamp, and he had one in the shape of a swan and owl."

Mrs. Chase said they never lighted the lamps for fear of shattering the fragile glass shades.

Frank L. McWright of Bethel, Conn., a noted collector who has written widely on the lamps, first met Mr. Chase at antique shows.

"I sold him lamps over the years, and I saw his collection grow into a very fine one," said Mr. McWright.

He described Mr. Chase as "a quiet man who happened to acquire a liking for lamps from the Victorian period."

Mr. Chase was an active member of the Night Light Miniature Oil Lamp Collectors Club.

He was born and raised on a farm in Davidsonville, where he attended a one-room school.

He graduated from Annapolis High School and attended Anne Arundel Community College and the University of Maryland at College Park.

He served in the Army as a helicopter crewman from 1966 to 1972.

His earlier marriages ended in divorce.

Services were held yesterday.

In addition to his wife, he is survived by a son, Samuel C. Chase III of Davidsonville; a daughter, Kimberly J. Catterton of Riva; his father, Samuel C. Chase Sr. of Davidsonville; a brother, Robert Chase of Davidsonville; two stepsons, Bob France of Baltimore and Eric S. Crawford of Linthicum; two stepdaughters, Sherri Younger of Stevensville and Heather L. Scones of Catonsville; and five grandchildren.

Pub Date: 5/28/99

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