John Chase and I went a long way back to UCLA grad school. Even then he stood apart for his larger than life personality and his keen take on issues of the day. As flamboyant as he seemed, there was a gentleness to John, a quiet subtlety in his communication. He often wordlessly spoke in his trademark mischievous sidelong twinkle. You didn't have to be a genius to see it but for those that didn't have the inclination, the more obvious side of him left plenty to like as well. He was funny in a biting but never mean-spirited way. That is what allowed him to speak truth to power as he did every day at work and still be as beloved as he was by bureaucrats and developers alike. In the last few years, after much soul searching and some happy accidents, he seemed to have reached a state of grace in his life-it all just synched. Although he is gone, I am so glad he got to that place that so many people never do. He packed a lot of happiness into a short time and he deserved every second of it.
Balcony Press/FORM magazine
A memorial is scheduled for Tuesday, August 24 from 4pm to 7pm at Fiesta Hall in Plummer Park, 7377 Santa Monica Boulevard, West Hollywood. The invitation suggests to “dress as if John picked out your outfit.”
More tributes to John Chase:
John Kaliski's Facebook
The Architectural Correspondent blog by John Kaliski
KCRW's Design and Architecture
KCRW DnA podcast on John Leighton Chase
Do you have your own memory of John Chase? Please feel free to comment here.