Henrietta Chase, 89, teacher's aide and devoted church member

Posted: June 04, 2014

HENRIETTA Warrick thought she'd like to be a mortician. She also thought she'd like to visit Switzerland.

Although she did neither, Henrietta managed to live a full and adventurous life, from trekking through the jungles of Hawaii to visiting Mexico and the Bahamas.

But maybe her most fun was line dancing at various venues in Philadelphia, and grooving to Led Zeppelin's "Hey, Hey What Can I Do?"

In fact, that song was her ringtone.

In other words, Henrietta was something of a free spirit, while also being a devoted family matriarch as mother, grandmother and great-grandmother.

Henrietta Chase, as she became after marrying the late Clarence Chase in 1952, was a public school teacher's aide and active church member. She died May 27 of heart failure. She was 89 and was living in Tucson, Ariz., but formerly lived in Southwest Philadelphia.

As a teacher's aide, she worked in a number of schools and wound up at her alma mater, William Penn High School. She retired at age 62.

Henrietta actually had the first name of Aja, which she never used. It was said to be an Indian name, bestowed on her by her father, Edgar Warrick, who was part Nanticoke Indian. Her mother was the former Ethel Smith.

Always curious and willing to try something new, Henrietta took a computer course at Community College of Philadelphia. She liked sending and getting email messages, and would check out the Internet to learn about places she planned to visit.

"She was very curious," said her granddaughter, Amber Doe. "She was the first person in the family to get a computer. She was completely fearless. She didn't care what others thought of her."

Henrietta carried herself like the lady she was. She always made an impression with her stylish dress and just the right accessories. Even in the hospital, she insisted on wearing her own clothes instead of the shapeless hospital gowns.

Henrietta loved to travel, and took cruises to the Caribbean and the Bahamas. One of her favorite destinations was Rocky Point, Mexico, a resort on the Sea of Cortez in the state of Sonora.

In Hawaii, she went on walking tours in the jungles to see the native birds and beasts.

In Philly, one of her favorite destinations was the Reading Terminal Market, where she liked the Amish chicken wings and stocking up on fruits and vegetables. She met Amber there every weekend for a time.

Although Henrietta never made it to Switzerland, Amber visited the country and returned with gifts of chocolate and a cuckoo clock so Grandmom could feel as if she'd been there herself.

Henrietta was an active member of Mount Pisgah African Methodist Episcopal Church for more than 50 years.

She met her husband at a Christmas party. He managed a furniture warehouse in Philadelphia. He died in 1990.

She is survived by a daughter, Iris Escalante; a son, Clarence Chase Jr.; a sister, Elsie Warrick; a brother, Leroy Warrick; three other grandchildren and five great-grandchildren.

Services: 11 a.m. Thursday at Mount Pisgah AME Church, 428 N. 41st St. Friends may call at 9 a.m. Burial will be in Fernwood Cemetery.

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