After an adventurous life of 87 years, Dolores Chase died on April 18, 2023, in Salt Lake City, Utah surrounded by family. She was tenderly cared for by family, friends, and neighbors during her final months in her condo in Wasatch Towers and then in an assisted living facility for the last two weeks of her life.
Dolores was born April 16, 1936, in Berkeley, California to Wanda (Blanchard) and Reed Chase. She spent her childhood in Berkeley and had many friends. Dolores learned from her dad to be engaged in many different projects -- around the house and yard, in real estate, seeking education and starting a business. She had a tender relationship with her father who lovingly referred to her as “Lolly.” In her youth Dolores spent a lot of time in the Berkeley Public Library on Kittredge Street where her love of reading blossomed. She fondly recalled memorizing the evocative poem “Thanatopsis” by William Cullen Bryant at that library. We read it to her in her last days. Dolores enjoyed rekindling childhood friendships in later years, particularly when she traveled from Salt Lake City to Berkeley to attend high school reunions more than 60 years after graduation.
In her youth she went on numerous family trips with her parents and four siblings. These trips included frequent trips to Clear Lake in northern California as well as longer trips to Chester, Idaho to visit her mother’s family. The family also took a road trip across the United States. That marked the beginning of a life of travel for her.
In her childhood in Berkeley she developed a love of flowers, particularly roses and flowering trees. She especially loved the Berkeley rose garden. This love of nature made spring in Salt Lake a favorite time of year for her. She loved the yard at Wasatch Towers, where she enjoyed sitting and reading and talking with friends below majestic trees.
After her marriage to J. Bonner Ritchie, she taught English for a year at Oakland Tech (high school) where she was proud of her efforts to foster interest in reading among her students. They then moved to Germany for Bonner’s military service. Their daughter Marcelyn was born in Kaiserslautern in 1961. They returned to Berkeley where son Marc was born in 1966. The family then moved to Ann Arbor, Michigan. Dolores had many friends in the Ann Arbor Ward, where she was a leader and support to many. While in Michigan, Dolores completed a master’s degree in art history at Eastern Michigan University. In 1971 the family took a summer trip camping throughout Europe. Dolores did not love camping but she appreciated saving money—a frugality she learned from her mother. In 1973 the family moved to Orem, Utah. In Orem, Dolores taught art history at BYU, sharing an office with dear friend Norma Davis. Later Dolores worked in fundraising at Utah Valley Technical College (now Utah Valley University) as it was growing and expanding at the Orem campus where she worked with her dear and life-long friend Lucille Stoddard.
In the 1980’s Dolores met Richard Haacke and they fell in love. They married in 1986 and lived together at Wasatch Towers until his death in 2019. His passing was a tremendous loss for her. They had traveled the world together and especially loved going to Paris, San Francisco, and Laguna Beach. They always enjoyed being near the ocean. They played regular games of backgammon and hearts and teased each other about winning and losing. Richard was so patient with her quirks. Dolores went along on Richards’ fishing trips, reading a book in the boat while he fished. Richard supported Dolores in her art gallery business. Richard dedicated a lot of time and energy helping her art business to thrive.
Dolores enjoyed writing. Her essay “When April with its Sweet Showers” was about a trip she took to France in 1979 where she explored small towns, art museums and churches on her own. She had studied the language before that trip and was proud of her ability to get around and communicate with basic French. She also wrote essays that she read on the Salt Lake public radio station which were compiled into a booklet “From the Notebooks of Dolores Chase, KUER Essays 1986-87.” She also created a book titled “Think On These Things” of messages by her father Reed Chase from short talks he gave while working in the Oakland LDS Temple.
Dolores received a Master of Arts Administration degree from the University of Utah in the 1980’s. She then parlayed her passion for art into a two-decade career as the owner of Dolores Chase Fine Art. It was a bold move to start an art gallery in Salt Lake City, but she was determined and worked hard. The gallery was first located on Pierpont Avenue and then for many years at 260 S 200 W in Salt Lake. She was skilled at finding young artists at university shows and then offering to represent them at her gallery. She launched many art careers for Utah artists, including Brian Kershisnik, who went on to very successful careers. She loved to show art to people and to share her insights, feelings and stories about paintings and artists. She will be remembered by many because of her efforts to showcase amazing art.
Dolores was so excited to welcome grandchildren. She chose for herself the endearing name Nonna (grandmother in Italian). Aidan, Emilia and Elan loved Nonna and she loved them dearly and completely. She enjoyed watching them in their sports, music, and other activities, and treasured her time with them. She was especially excited to celebrate Elan’s recent wedding to Alex Keith.
Dolores is survived by her children: Marcelyn Ritchie (Keith Bartholomew), and Marc Coles-Ritchie (Marilee); her grandchildren: Aidan Coles-Ritchie, Emilia Coles-Ritchie, Elan Bartholomew (Alex); and Richard’s children, Stan Haacke (Shauna), Charlie Haacke (Dona), Danielle Hood (Mitch), Gaylene Jensen (Bruce); her siblings: Gwen Ludlow, Virginia McKee, Hal Chase (Bonnie), Duane Chase (Jan). She is also survived by her first husband J. Bonner Ritchie.
In addition to those noted above, we express appreciation to dear friends Betsy Slayton, Mary Souwo, and Deanne Coles who were so supportive to her, especially in her final months. She loved her Wasatch Towers community where she lived the past 37 years and experienced deep friendship and support, in particular during the pandemic. In recent months, her Wasatch Towers community provided essential physical and emotional support as her health declined.
She was preceded in death by her husband Richard H. Haacke and Richard’s daughter Margaret Haacke. Per her request there will be no public funeral.
In addition to her passion for the visual arts, Dolores loved other art forms including classical music, poetry, and ballet. In her memory, donations to arts organizations or other causes may be appropriate.