David Theodore Chase (aged 88) of West Hartford, CT, founder and president of Chase Enterprises, passed away at his home on June 1st, 2016. Born in Kielce, Poland, he was the son of Leon and Helen Ciesla. David was a Holocaust survivor, lifelong entrepreneur, and philanthropist. David arrived in the United States as a teenager after surviving the Auschwitz, Sachsenhausen, and Mauthausen concentration camps. During the Holocaust, David and his sister Helen lost their parents and younger sister in addition to many other family members.
After graduating from Weaver High School in Hartford, CT and transferring from Hillyer College to the UCONN prelaw program, David met the love of his life, Rhoda Cohen. David would frequently remark that the first time he saw Rhoda he felt a thunderbolt strike him and he knew that she would be the woman he would marry. David credits Rhoda with having the most influential impact on his life and in guiding him to be the man that he would become. She was a constant source of encouragement that he be a man of honesty and integrity.
David’s career spanned many different industries including commercial real estate, banking, telecommunications, construction, manufacturing, and hotels. David played a leading role in developing the Hartford skyline and reinvigorating downtown Hartford in the 1970s and 1980s with the construction of the “Gold Building”, One Corporate Center, known as the Stilts Building and 280 Trumbull Street. David also built New Haven’s Connecticut Financial Center, which is the tallest building in New Haven. David developed many shopping centers across the nation, including pioneering the development of Topps Department stores in the 1950s. David was an investor in several regional banks including South End Bank and Trust, First National Bank of Enfield, which ultimately became the First International Bank. David was one of the first Americans to invest in Poland after the fall of the Berlin Wall, owing much to his friendship with Pope John Paul II, who asked that he return to Poland to help their transition from Communism to Capitalism. His Polish investments included the first Polish-American owned bank, paving the way for his revolutionary infrastructure investment, which brought cable television to Poland.
David’s tireless philanthropic work spanned across many different religious, medical, and societal causes. As a man of Jewish faith he was dedicated to the people of Israel and victims of the Holocaust. David co-founded the United States Holocaust Museum in Washington DC, led fund raising efforts for Yad Vashem, and was heavily involved with the Rabbinical College of America, as well as supporting numerous hospitals and universities in Israel. Through his career, he was awarded numerous honorary Doctorate degrees. He crossed religious barriers with his work for the Foundation for the Advancement of Catholic Schools (FACS), strongly supported the Anti-Defamation League, and worked with the Red Cross to support both Israel’s Maghen David Adom and the Palestinian Red Crescent Society. His philanthropic works led to friendships with successive presidents and religious leaders including Jimmy Carter, Lech Walesa, and the late Rebbe Menachem Mendel Schneersohn and he was immensely proud to be able to contribute and serve the United States at every opportunity. David was a family man and loving person that believed in everyone’s ability to do good and better themselves.
David is survived by his wife Rhoda Chase of West Hartford; his son Arnold Chase and his wife Sandra of West Hartford; daughter Cheryl Chase and her husband Judge Stuart Bear of West Hartford; his grandchildren William Chase and wife Dr. Lauren Kopyt Chase of West Hartford; Dara Dyer and husband Ross Dyer of West Hartford; Sara Chase of New York City; Allison Chase of New York City; Melissa Chase of New York City; and Landon Chase of Bloomfield; and great-grandchildren Dylan and Riley Dyer of West Hartford; and Samuel Chase of West Hartford.
The funeral service will be Sunday, June 5th at 2PM at Congregation Beth Israel located at 701 Farmington Avenue, West Hartford, CT.
Interment will follow the service at Congregation Beth Israel Cemetery, 27 Jackson Street, Avon, CT.
The Shiva will take place after the Interment at Congregation Beth Israel in Haas Hall / Feldman Hall.
Memorial Donations may be made to the UCONN Health Center, 263 Farmington Avenue, Farmington, Ct 06032
Arrangements are entrusted to Weinstein Mortuary, Hartford, CT. For further information, directions, or to sign the guest book for David, please visit online at www.weinsteinmortuary.com/funerals.cfm