In Memory

Walter Pierce Chase III - Class Of 1968

Walter Pierce Chase III


Many parents have wished or prayed to take the place of their seriously ill children, and musician Walter Chase was no different. His first-born son, Wally, wasn't even a year old when he was diagnosed with liver cancer. To everyone's amazement, the baby's cancer went into remission.

It defied logical explanation, said his family and friends, but in April 2006, Walter Chase was diagnosed with colon cancer that doctors said he might have had silently for 10 years. Last May his son, Walter "Wally" Pierce Chase IV, 23, graduated from Colorado State University. January 20, 2008, Walter Chase, age 57, died peacefully. The cancer had spread from his colon to his liver and lungs.

"He was an awesome, awesome man," said Vicky, his wife of 23 years. Her words were echoed by local musicians who have known the bass player and jammed with him for years. Over the years, the musicians were there when Chase put together numerous benefits to raise money for anyone who needed help, from the Ronald Mc-Donald House, which had been home to his family when his son was ill, to critically ill musicians and a club owner with a brain aneurysm. He was particularly drawn to cancer charities, Vicky said.

Chuck Snow of the band Autono met Chase, "when he was in the band Ricky and the Realtors with Red Noize, Chris Cain and Dave Deason back in the early '80s. They were one of the few (if only) bands playing cool music like The Jam and Joe Jackson. They were a major inspiration to me to play the kind of music I like instead of the usual icky classic rock. RIP Walter."

Chase played in the Bijou Street Blues Band, Mike Nelson and the Motel Kings and The Joanne Taylor Rhythm and Blues Revue, among others. Billed on blues nights at Hillside Gardens were: "Smokin' Joe, Magic Dave and Walter Chase."

Mike Nelson had played with Chase for 15 years, part of the original lineup for the Motel Kings and as a duo and part of a trio.

"In spite of the cancer, he did a good job of keeping it going for a long time," Nelson said.

Then, one night about six months ago at Meadow Muffins, they'd played only a set when Chase told him, "I'm done, Mike."

His bass hand, crippled with neuropathy because of the chemo, hurt too much. He couldn't go to the clubs anymore, so the bands went to him.

"All the local musicians would crowd into the living room and play for him. The guys with the Bijou Street Blues Band were here," Vicky said.

As he became more ill, they squeezed into the bedroom to play.

The house has been filled with musicians and family, said his wife. Besides son Wally, 23, he's survived by Wessley, Brooklyn and Dustin Gosnell.

The Gazette, January 22, 2008


May 8, 1950-January 20, 2008. Walter Pierce Chase III died at home in Colorado Springs.  He was born May 8th, 1950 in South Pasadena, California. He was a musician and a real estate agent. He is survived by his wife Vicky; sons Dustin, Walter IV and Wessley; daughter, Brooklyn; a sister Louise Wynn (SPHS '61); and grandchildren, K.T., Lillie and Leylah. 

The Gazette, January 23, 2008

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11/05/12 07:56 AM #1    

Ron L Wilson (1968)

I first met Walt when I moved to So. Pas. when I was in the 2nd grade.  Myself Ray Price and Walt were best friends. We played together everyday, usually trying to kill each other but having fun all the time.  Walts mom was the most gracious person I have ever met, she would invite me over for dinner every Sat. night for home made Tacos, they were terrific, best I've ever had, All the time while taking care of a terribly sick daughter. The Chases had a small swimming pool and in the summer everyone was invited to come and swim. We had slumber parties, and we would all sleepout in the back yard.  Walt had this crazy dog that loved to chase cars and try to bite the tires as they went down the street.  That poor dog would bite everyone who came near it ,so it was always chained up in the back yard.  For some odd reason, that I will never understand, Me and that crazy dog got along just fine, I would walk in the back yard and instead of biting me, he would run over and jump up on my leg and want me to pet him , which I did.  Walt's dad was really something else, he was one of the most talanted men I've ever met, he could fix anything mechanical, build models, and built one of the best model railroad setups I've ever seen, all this while earning a living and taking care of his family.  After I got out of the Army I lost touch with Walt, and just recently heard about what happened, I'm sorry I didn't get a chance to see him one more time before he left us.  So long buddy.  Love Ron Wilson

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