Henry Hamilton Chase (Ham), 87, of 63 Maple Ave, Keene, NH passed away peacefully with family at his side on November 2, 2013, at the Woodward Home in Keene, after living a life full of love, laughter, devotion to family, church, friends, community, and entrepreneurship. Ham was born in Boston, MA on April 18, 1926, son of Philip Minot and Dorothea Deming Chase. He grew up in Newton, MA where he attended Rivers Country Day School. He entered Dartmouth College in 1943, left for active service in the U.S. Army Air Corps in pilot training, was discharged in 1946 and returned to Dartmouth to graduate with the class of '47 and to complete a MS in mechanical engineering from the Thayer School of Engineering. Throughout his life, Dartmouth remained special to him not only for his education and lifelong friendships, but that is where he met the love of his life, Dorothy Gorham Chase, a graduate nurse at the Mary Hitchcock Hospital in Hanover. Ham and Dottie were married on April 21, 1951 at The Christ Church of Dartmouth College in Hanover.
After graduation, Ham worked at Pratt & Whitney Aircraft in East Hartford, CT for five years, followed by stints at General Electric and New Departure Bearings prior to moving to Keene, NH to work with Miniature Precision Bearings (MPB). In 1963, Ham founded Clean Way Industries, Inc. to engineer and build contamination-free 'clean rooms' and related operating systems. Ham's company helped push forward the envelope on creating contamination-free rooms originally designed for the manufacture of miniature ball bearings and later, for wafer board assembly of computer chips. He was a founding officer of the American Association of Contamination Control (AACC). As an early promoter of solar energy and environmental concerns, Ham founded Clean Energy Systems in1972 to sell and install solar energy systems and was especially proud to work with several of his sons in this endeavor. He was a licensed, instrument-rated pilot and for many years flew for both work and pleasure.
Ham was active throughout his time in the Keene community doing volunteer work or participating in areas of sports, music, education, politics and more. In the 60's, Ham sang with a local Barbershop group, 'Two Brothers and Two Others', and with wife, Dottie, danced with The Monadnock Squares. Ham served as a youth hockey coach and himself played Men's League Hockey into his 70's. Ham was a frequent contributor to editorials and to local and state representatives regarding issues about which he was passionate, one of which was environmental concerns. Ham promoted environmental awareness in local and regional schools through the use of a presentation video. Ham was a member of the United Church of Christ in Keene for 50 years, teaching Sunday School, serving on committees and active with youth ministry in earlier years.
Ham was an active and dedicated member of the Class of 1947, Dartmouth College. He wrote Class Notes for over 30 years, Class newsletter for 15 years and served as class reunion planner for many years. He was the Alumni Chairman of the Tri-Kap Fraternity and served as an officer and dedicated volunteer with the Southwest NH Dartmouth Club for many years, including serving as Chair of Community Service for the club. Ham received numerous awards for his dedication and service to Dartmouth, getting special recognition in 2007 for 60 years of ongoing activity and support.
During 20 years of retirement Ham continued active volunteer work at the Dartmouth Hitchcock Medical Center , Monadnock Children's Museum , Habitat For Humanity, Ashuelot Park Gardens, and Stonewall Farm among others. Ham and Dottie enjoyed summers on Martha's Vineyard Island with large family gatherings. Many years of active downhill and cross-country skiing kept them busy during winters. They were avid travelers for many years with numerous trips to Europe, the US, and Caribbean Islands, including sailing and bareboat cruising with friends. Maple syrup making each spring for over 40 years was one of Ham's great passions and gift to family and friends who enjoyed the syrup, maple candy and maple butter. His vegetable garden was another favorite pastime.
Ham spent his last 2 years at the Woodward Home on Court Street where he redefined 'assisted living' - to include arranging himself a private flight to a family wedding in Maine! Ham cherished his time with beloved staff and residents, and took complete advantage of the downtown location to walk daily on Court Street and into town. As in his earlier life, Ham participated in every aspect of community life at The Woodward and gave freely of his own talents and observations to the many friends he made.
Hamilton is survived by Dorothy, his wife and love of his life for 62 years, his children Alan Winfred, and wife Vanthia, of Naples, Florida and Martha's Vineyard, Carol, and husband Robert Craig of Malvern, Pennsylvania, David, and wife Callie, of Cumberland, Maine, Suzan Springer of Westerly, Rhode Island, and Robert and wife, Hien, of Keene, seventeen grandchildren, and three great-grandchildren. He was pre-deceased by his son Thomas Hamilton Chase, and by his brother Philip Minot Chase, Jr.
A memorial service to celebrate Ham's life will be held at The United Church of Christ, Keene on Saturday, November 8th, at 11 a.m. Fletcher Funeral Home & Cremation Services, 33 Marlboro St., Keene, NH is assisting with the arrangements.
In lieu of flowers, the family suggests donations be made to the Woodward Home, 194 Court Street, Keene, NH 03431.