Family members participating in the 95th birthday party of Lena Chase (center) include grandchildren (front, left to right): Michelle Wiedeman; Julia Chase, 8; Benjamin Chase, 10; daughter-in-law (right front): Kate Wiedeman; and (rear, from left): son Richard Wiedeman; stepsons Gary Chase and Don Chase; matriarch Lena Chase; stepdaughter Carol Chase Scrafford; and son Dan Wiedeman.
Photo by Thom Randall.
continued “”I had to learn and do everything, because I was the oldest of 11 children,” she said.
Lena worked as a bus driver, police officer, real estate agent, department store buyer and accountant, she said.
Lena's Son Richard Wiedeman recalled how she drove a contract school bus, not only driving her children and others to school, but to town to pick up groceries and other errands.
“We hit the floor so our friends wouldn’t see us,” he recalled. Wiedeman also reminisced about how Lena taught them about hard work and salesmanship — picking blueberries and selling them and other wares — like Cloverine salve — door-to-door.
“She had us out there selling all kinds of stuff,” he said.
He added that his mother possessed unmatched determination and persistence.
“It was her theory that there was nothing that couldn’t be done — she believed she and others could accomplish anything if you set your mind to it.”
In 1973, Lena moved to Lake George, and her husband Richard Chase was Superintendent of Schools for a while.
“I’ve built two houses here on Norman Street and rejuvenated another one,” she said.
Daughter-in-law Pamela Chase noted that even at age 95, Lena Chase still has her ways of getting things accomplished.
“Lena buys what she needs with a fresh-baked pie — whether it’s getting her grass cut or her driveway plowed,” Chase said. “She’s the queen of bartering.”
Dan Chase said he’s fully aware of how strong willed his mother is.
“She still tells us how to run our lives — It’s out of control!”