Funeral Services for Ida Borsella Chase of Chadron, Nebraska will be held Wednesday, April 28, 2021 at 10:00 AM at St. Patrick’s Catholic Church in Chadron, Nebraska. Burial will be held at Calvary Cemetery in Chadron, Nebraska. Rosary and vigil will be held Tuesday, April 27, 2021 at 7:30 PM at St. Patrick’s Catholic Church.
Ida (Borsella) Chase passed away at 12:53 AM on April 20, 2021 in Chadron, Nebraska. She was born January 31, 1929 to Alfonso and Carmela Borsella in Castropignano, Italy. She was raised in an old hilltop village with narrow cobbled streets and a stone archway dating back to 1100 AD.
Ida was the fifth born of seven children. Her father was a stone mason and both parents owned a small grocery store in which cheese, prosciutto, and bread were the main items sold.
Ida was 4 years old when she was chosen to live with her widowed aunt, Zia Rosaria, just a block away from her family. It was a custom at that time that a woman does not live alone, so Ida stayed with her aunt until she was 18.
Ida’s schooling and traditional Catholic upbringing was in the big municipal and convent building in the center of the village. She often volunteered teaching catechism and the alphabet to other students. On Mass days, she was in the choir singing the old Latin hymns.
When laundry needed to be done, Ida hand washed it with rain water from a cistern and soap. She then balanced a basket of laundry on her head and walked down the steep hill with friends and family to the Biferno River. There the laundry was rinsed and spread on the huge rocks to dry in the sun.
Ida experienced terrorizing events in her childhood. One was on the night of January 25, 1939, when the villagers thought the world was coming to an end. They witnessed an enormous reddish glow (The Aurora Borealis) blazing on the horizon and they believed it to be a sign of the Fatima prediction, which involved World War II.
Later that year, in September, World War II started. Ida’s village was bombed. For safety, she and her family lived in a farmer’s barn for a couple months. When her brother, Pio, was hit by shrapnel, they had to return to Castropignano for the doctor to give him 70 stitches. While waiting in her grandmother’s house, a bomb exploded close enough to knock down the wall. Ida and others were temporarily knocked unconscious by the blast. They got up and ran to her aunt’s home on the other side of town for temporary shelter.
By the time the war ended, Ida was 16 years old, and her oldest sister, Rosaria, had died.
Ida married Dudley H. Chase, an American soldier, on March 15, 1947, in Castropignano, Italy. Dudley met Ida the previous year at Christmas time when he was a guest brought to the village by her Canadian cousin who was also in the Army. The day Ida became a war bride was the day she had to say goodbye to her family and friends. An unfamiliar and unknown world awaited her because she had never been outside her village area. The newlyweds lived in Livorno, Italy, where Dudley was stationed for several months, before their ship embarked for America.
Ida and Dudley had 12 children. Their first home was in Greencastle, Indiana, where Dudley started teaching at a high school. In 1948, their first child, Agnes, was born. They moved to Albuquerque, New Mexico, where 10 more children were born (Teresa 1949, Paul 1950, Boniface 1951, Mary 1953, Yvonne 1955, John 1957, Grace 1959, twin George and Ruth 1962, and Heidi 1963). In 1964, they moved to Chadron, Nebraska, where Dudley became a college professor of foreign languages, mainly German and French. Their last child, Peter, was born in 1970.
In New Mexico, Ida and Dudley lived in many different locations. Wherever Dudley went to further his education and teach school, Ida was able to move the whole household, children and belongings to their new destinations. The family had moved at least 7 times by the time they left the mountains to live in the city of Albuquerque.
Ida’s life in the Sandia Mountains was primitive at first. She maintained a home without running water. A water pump was located outside and so was an outhouse. She cooked meals on a wood burning stove. She gathered fresh eggs from our chickens. At times, we had goat’s milk too.
When the rural one roomed school in which Dudley taught grades 1-8 closed, the family moved into the city of Albuquerque. By then, seven children had been born and they moved into a brand-new house on the east side of town. When Dudley found another teaching job within the city, the growing family moved two more times into other new homes. Ida planted grass and trees each time thinking it would be the last move.
Chadron, Nebraska was the final frontier. Dudley had accepted the foreign language instructor job at the college. In June of 1964, the Chase family left Albuquerque in two vehicles full of kids and a trailer.
Over the years, Ida volunteered her services at St. Patrick’s Catholic Church. She was a Eucharistic minister and she counted money from collections. Ida regularly washed and ironed the purificators used by the priest for Mass. She also checked the sacristy light, replaced used candles, cleaned and refilled holy water containers, She did all of this and more for God, because Ida was a strong Roman Catholic woman.
Ida was on a prayer line for many years. She outlived the entire original group that met and prayed weekly at each other’s homes. She attended daily Mass faithfully and prayed 3 rosaries per day for people. She often said that whoever prays for her will benefit with prayers from her too. She was a true prayer warrior.
Ida is known as Mamma. She is our stabilizing force. We always felt secure in her love and care for us since our childhood. After Papa passed away in 1996, Mamma continued to be the hub of our loving matriarch. Her home is our home away from home.
Ida had a natural talent on improvising and fixing things. That included building an entire extra bedroom from scratch at a house in the mountains of New Mexico. In Chadron, Ida rebuilt a doorway to the kitchen by moving it over 18 inches, and she lowered the ceilings in her home.
Ida overcame many obstacles that most of us take for granted. She started a new life 5,000 miles away from her family in a land foreign to her. She taught herself how to drive a clutch car on rough New Mexico mountain terrain. She learned English. She became a US citizen. She raised 12 children. In Chadron, Ida worked as a certified nurse assistant at Crestview nursing home for 25 years, retiring at the age of 70. She was a member of the American Legion Auxiliary. People knew her as a quiet, generous, and trustworthy person. She spoke with a strong Italian accent and lived in the light of her Catholic faith. She had 16 grandchildren, 17 great-grandchildren, and two great-great grandchildren. Ida loved and is deeply loved by all of her children.
Ida was preceded in death by her husband Dudley H. Chase; parents Alfonso and Carmela Borsella; sisters: Rosaria Borsella and Nina (DeFelice); brothers: Domenico, Pio, and Raffaele Borsella; and daughter Grace.
Her survivors include: her sister Aurora Graziano of San Giovanni en Galdo, Italy; Daughters: Agnes Cortney (John) of both Rapid City, SD and Chadron, NE., Teresa Nelson of Alliance, NE, Mary McQuain (Tom) of Charleston, W. VA., Yvonne Howdershelt (Gary) of Bruceton Mills, W. VA., Ruth Gibson (Dave) of Morgantown, W. VA., Heidi Murphy (Hugh) of Butte, MT.; Sons: James Paul (Roberta) of North Pole, Alaska, Boniface (Aline) of Castro Valley, CA., John (Marcelle) of El Sobrante, CA., George of Park City, UT, and Peter (Tracey) of Amarillo, TX; 16 grandchildren, 17 great-grandchildren, and 2 great-great grandchildren.
A memorial has been established for St. Patrick’s Catholic Church. Donations can be sent to Chamberlain Chapel, PO Box 970, Chadron, NE 69337.
Chamberlain Chapel of Chadron is in charge of arrangements.
Ida Borsella Chase's Slideshow: https://www.tributeslides.com/tributes/show/F9SM7M7BKLLMRTR4
Ida Borsella Chase's Wake: https://youtu.be/biHBGzYcZcE
Ida Borsella Chase's Funeral Mass: https://youtu.be/60MdEEPHIDY