Ralph Vincent Chase Sr., a former Baltimore City Recreation and Parks official who had been manager of the old Memorial Stadium, died Sunday of heart failure at Sinai Hospital.
He was 71.
Mr. Chase, the son of a federal worker and homemaker, was born and raised in Washington.
After graduating from Spingarn High School in 1956, he attended what is now Morgan State University on a football scholarship. He earned a bachelor's degree in 1961 in physical education.
After serving in the Army as a military policeman, Mr. Chase was honorably discharged in 1963 and then began his 28-year career with the city's Recreation and Parks Department.
Mr. Chase began working as a recreation leader and then was promoted to a street club worker.
"He was renowned for his ability to communicate with and positively influence young men in the communities of Baltimore," said his wife of 48 years, the former Betty Bivins, a retired city public schools educator and human resources specialist.
"His actions prevented many from becoming involved in gangs and negative lifestyles," Mrs. Chase said.
Mr. Chase eventually was promoted to director of Street Club Service and then to assistant superintendent and later acting superintendent of recreation and parks.
In 1978, he was appointed manager of Memorial Stadium.
"He was the first African-American to hold that position," Mrs. Chase said.
Mr. Chase retired in 1991.
He was a member of the New All Saints Men's Club and No Name Social Club, and was a former member of the Elks, Varsity M and 100 Black Men.
He enjoyed watching golf, baseball and football while relaxing in his favorite recliner, Mrs. Chase said. He also liked taking automobile trips to Atlantic City, N.J., where he enjoyed playing the slots.
Mr. Chase was a communicant of New All Saints Roman Catholic Church, 4408 Liberty Heights Ave., where a Mass of Christian burial will be offered at 10 a.m. today.
Also surviving are a son, Ralph V. Chase Jr. of Randallstown; three daughters, Judy Henson of Upper Marlboro, Stephanie Chase Melette of Baltimore and Andrea Chase Darby of Randallstown; three sisters, Alice Glass of Atlanta, and Dorothy Holland and Delores Hill, both of Washington; eight grandchildren; and six great-grandchildren.
- Frederick N. Rasmussen