Born and raised in Austin, Drucie Raye Rucker Chase had ties to many key sites in the city’s educational history. She was born on August 4, 1931 and attended L.C. Anderson High School, which was the premier school of East Austin before it was closed in 1971 and replaced by a new, integrated high school as part of desegregation orders. Later on, Chase attended Huston-Tillotson University, a historically Black private institution and the first institution of higher learning in Austin. Chase graduated with her Bachelor of Arts in English at only 19-years-old. Professional accreditation to become a teacher was not permitted for those under the age of 21, but Chase received special permission to teach elementary school. A dedicated and clever teacher, Chase taught at Blackshear Elementary School in East Austin, which was opened in 1891 to educate young African American children in the community for free. In Houston, Chase continued to impact young students’ lives for many years at Grimes and Dodson elementary schools.
Chase first met her husband, John, at a friend’s wedding and married him soon after in 1950. When she retired from teaching, she devoted herself to her husband’s architecture firm and their children, John, Anthony, and Saundria. Upon moving to Houston, the Chases visited Black churches all across the city, seeking out community and business opportunities in the congregations they met with. The couple became members of the Antioch Missionary Baptist Church. With Chase’s help, the firm grew and flourished, and John referred to her as the “wind beneath [his] sails.”
Throughout her life, Chase tirelessly and compassionately served her community, both as a teacher and a volunteer. She was a member of the Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority and Jack & Jill, a charter member of The Moles, and president of the Houston Chapter of the Links. Furthermore, Chase was appointed to serve on the boards of the Municipal Arts Commission, Institute for International Education, Houston Botanic Garden, Emancipation Park Conservancy, and Houston Museum of African American Culture. Her work and leadership ensured the creation and preservation of both culture and beauty in the greater Houston area.
The easiest way to illustrate the Chases’ commitment to their community is perhaps by examining their home in Houston. Designed by John and constructed in Riverside Terrace, the centerpiece of the residence was a spacious and grand interior courtyard. In a 1985 interview, Drucie describes their house as an “open house.” Children in the neighborhood were always welcome, and the couple hosted political receptions, fundraisers, and social events in their home. The Chases expanded their house over the years as they welcomed more and more of their community inside. Towards the end of her life, Chase spent much time with her family, supporting her children and grandchildren in all their endeavors, and she continued to sustain her husband’s legacy. On January 19, 2021, Chase passed away, and the University of Texas at Austin seeks to honor her commitment to education and community with the new John S. and Drucie Chase Building.
- This Is Our Home, It Is Not for Sale (This Is Our Home) (documentary featuring interview with John S. and Drucie Chase)
Drucie Chase’s obituary https://www.legacy.com/us/obituaries/houstonchronicle/name/drucie-chase-obituary?pid=197573507