Retiree blessed with good luck through his life and career

Although he has British roots, Bryce Chase says he is blessed with the proverbial luck of the Irish.

 “The story of my life is that if anything good is going to happen, it’s going to happen to me,” says the 96-year-old retired Alberta Vocational College (AVC, now Bow Valley College) employee. Among the blessings Bryce counts in his life is his 15-year tenure as a counsellor at Bow Valley College.

The AVC years

“It was the best job I ever had,” he enthuses about his position as a counsellor. “I loved it. So much good came out of there.” He remembers fondly his fellow employees and the people he counselled, helping them overcome low confidence to complete their studies and move into meaningful careers.

Bryce insists that he could still be working at his job if were not for the advent of a computerized system that resulted in the destruction of many of his 2,500 hand-written interviews and assessments. That was the impetus for his retirement at 64.

The early years

Bryce began his life in North Battleford, Saskatchewan, one of six children born to “wonderful parents.” Ardent volunteers, they told Bryce, “You are set on this Earth to serve God and fellow man, and don’t you forget it.”

“It’s the best advice I ever got,” Bryce says.

After high school, in 1941, he enlisted in the Royal Canadian Air Force and began flying.

Even there, he got lucky. His plane was delayed on one training mission where three of four of the aircraft were shot down. Soon after, his assignment was shifted. Based in India, he began hauling supplies to army units in Burma, and bringing the wounded from the battlefield to hospital. At 21 years old, he was leading a unit.

“We grew up really fast,” he says of his Second World War experiences.

On his release from the air force, Bryce signed up to study psychology at university, part of the program for vets, which he describes as “wonderful.” It gave him a career that he loved. Out of university, he was recruited back into the air force, where he interviewed thousands of potential recruits, placing them in appropriate trades.

The retirement years

Since he retired from AVC about 36 years ago, Bryce has remained as engaged and active as ever. An avid fisherman and hunter, he continued volunteering with the Fish and Game Association, building habitat for fish and wildlife species.

He also continues to golf to this day, an activity that he learned from his father, a golf enthusiast who introduced the sport to North Battleford.

And he dances. Bryce moved into a seniors’ lodge last year and was delighted to discover a music program for residents. He was dismayed that no one danced.

”I noticed a few of the gals moving their feet, so I started asking them to dance,” he remembers. “Every one of them could dance.” Now, dancing has become de rigueur at the lodge.

His wife died 11 years ago. He is close with his three children, who have given him eight grandchildren, and another seven great-grandchildren.

“I’ve had it so good in my life,” Bryce says.

When asked why he believes he has been so blessed, he responds “I get along with everybody and I like to be in places where I do best.”

That simple philosophy has given Bryce an abundance of happiness and good fortune throughout his long life.

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