"Kewpie of the Month" for July 2004
Luke Chase, Class of 1945
Read about Luke and his book, "First Verse"
Luke passed away Thursday, Jan. 1, 2009.
About Luke, from inside the cover of "First Verse"
A Boone County Original
Luke Abbot Chase was born on Eighth Street in Columbia, Missouri on May 3, 1927, at the home. He was the youngest of seven children. His parents were Alma Dee and Merton Floyd Chase.
His sister Theda had the most impact on Luke in his formative years. She was an independent thinker and a fighter for the underdog. Luke’s sense of justice and ethics was honed by her strong opinions.
Luke was elected student body president of David H. Hickman High School in 1944, 13 years after Sam Walton held the same position. He was the first in his family to graduate from college, earning a bachelors degree in Journalism from the University of Missouri-Columbia.
He served in the US Navy at the end of World War
II and the US Air Force during the Korean conflict. His service experience
provided visits to exotic destinations in the Pacific theater (Navy) and
almost as exotic, Billy Mitchell Field n Milwaukee (Air Force).
After some years of the West Coast, the mid 1960s found Luke single and back in Columbia, working as an ad salesman for the Columbia Daily Tribune. When he was promoted to manage the display advertising department he found the love of his career. The interactions of the bright, talented people of his team – Dan Starkey, Ron Daniel, Joe May, Mike Brooks, Joe Tray, Dee Roberts, Bill Hanlin and others – created a rich working atmosphere.
As the leader of this group, Luke cultivated this atmosphere. He was witty, demanding, encourageing, funny, criticizing and awarding. He led by example: Speed walking downtown between sales calls, selling the maximum space per customer, creating ads that worked and expecting the same of his staff.
This was surely a special place – not the typical ad sales department of the typical daily newspaper. To be sure, the ads got sold and the paper got printed every day. But there was so much more going on. The chemistry, the intelligence, the raw wit of the ad sales group, the love they had for each other, and for Luke, was simply astounding.
Luke met Betty Joan Thompson while calling on Gene Glenn’s clothing store on Broadway. Joan was Mr. Glenn’s trusted buyer and top saleswoman. Luke and Joan fell in love like a couple of kids.
Their careers behind them now, they find enjoyment in volunteer activities for their church and the area Optimist Clubs. Luke recently served as Governor of the Eastern Missouri district of Optimist International.
These days they mainly keep close to home, buying old collectible junk on E-bay, reading, puttering around the house, taking Bonnie (their dog) for walks, Luke jumping up to write a poem when the muse hits, visits with family and friends. They have a contented, peaceful life.
Luke A. Chase, Poet
At age 76, this intelligent, witty, free thinking, well read and well spoken man has become a published poet. The words apparently come to him in a rush and he hurries to his computer to get the poem down before the muse escapes. There are 77 poems here. Some are thoughtful, some sublime. Some are just funny. Each verse reveals a bit of the depth of the rational and emotional sides of this remarkable man.