Kim Chace

Obituary I. for Malcolm G. Chace

Chace, Malcolm Green, a leading businessmen and philanthropist who enthusiastically embraced family, friends and community, died on Thursday, June 23, 2011. He was 76.

Mr. Chace died surrounded by family at the Massachusetts General Hospital where he had been receiving treatment for glioblastoma.

Malacolm G. Chace “Kim” was born in Providence, RI, on October 26, 1934, the son of the late Malcolm G. Chace, Jr. and Beatrice “Happy” Oenslager Chace. Providence was his home for the majority of his life. He married Elizabeth Zopfi Saltonstall on February 8, 1975, in Providence.

Kim attended The Gordon School, Providence, RI and graduated from The Brooks School, North Andover, MA (1952) and Yale University, New Haven, CT (1956). After graduation, he fulfilled his military obligation with the US Army serving as a Private in Germany which provided him with fodder to regale many a gathering with tales of his tour de force as a bumbling tank mechanic.

The grounding to Mr. Chace’s long and successful career in business began at Chase Manhattan Bank in New Your City. He returned to Providence in 1967 to participate in the family businesses and investments including President of Mossberg Industries in Cumberland, RI. In 1996 he founded Bank RI where he remained as Chairman of the Board. In 1992 he succeeded his father on the board of Berkshire Hathaway, which he served on until 2007. One of his proudest achievements was the development of Dromoland Castle in Newmarket on Fergus, Ireland as on internationally acclaimed hotel.

Kim’s dedication to family and community was filled with contagious enthusiasm and energy. He generously gave his time and support to many community organizations and served as trustee on several Boards of Directors, including Women and Infants Hospital, Trinity Repertory, Brooks School and The Gordon School among others. His civic efforts were recognized by awards conferred to him, which include the Providence Renaissance Award, 2002 United Way Alexis de Tocqueville Society Award, and the 1996 Helm Award. In recognition of his dedication to Rhode Island education, he received honorary degrees from Brown University, Bryant University and Johnson and Wales University.

One of Mr. Chace’s proudest moments in support of the arts in Providence was the 2009 opening of The Rhode Island School of Design Chace Center, which he jointly endowed with his two sisters, Jane Chace Carroll and Eliot Chace Nolen.

While known for his philanthropy, Kim is remembered by his family and friends for his support, love, prodigious intellect, voracious reading and rapier-like wit. His greatest legacy, however, is a large and loving family.

He is survived by his wife Elizabeth Zopfi Chace; sisters Jane Chace Carroll and Eliot Chace Nolen, both of Manhattan; daughter, Elizabeth (John) Sundell of Nantucket, MA; son, Malcolm (Erin) Chace Jr. of Providence RI; daughter (Tony) Ulehla of Wilton, CT; step-daughter, Joanna Saltonstall (Larry Farwell); step-son William (Katherine) Saltonstall of Hingham, MA; step-son, Thomas (Stephanie) Saltsonstall; step-daughter, Julia (Bradford) Haley; and 15 grandchildren.

A Memorial Service will be held on Thursday, JULY 14th, at 11am in Grace Church, Westminster St., Providence. In lieu of flowers please send donations to the Chace Fund, 121 South Main Street, 4th Floor, Providence, RI 02903 for which funds will be distributed to community organizations with which Mr. Chace was deeply involved.

by The Providence Journal, June 25, 2011

Obituary II. for Malcolm G. Chace

Malcolm G. “Kim” Chace, one of one of Rhode Island’s leading philanthropists and businessmen, died Thursday, after a life dedicated to community affairs. He was 76.

Among his many business titles was founder of Bank of Rhode Island, the Providence-based financial institution he started with Merrill Sherman.

His varied business dealings put him in contact with the likes of Warren Buffett, one of the world’s richest men, who considered the Chace family close advisers.

The Chace family history in Rhode Island and Southern New England stretches back generations – a long line of entrepreneurs, manufacturers, bankers and businessmen.

Chace brought “a unique combination of business acumen together with a level of generosity and commitment to many nonprofits in Rhode Island,” said Thomas E. Gardner, a Chace business adviser.

Chace ran Mossberg Industries, a Cumberland makes of plastic spools and reels, and Providence-bases machine manufacturer New England Butt Co., into the late 1980s. He also ran SENESCO Marine shipyard until 2006, when he and other key investors sold the North Kingston barge builder.

The Providence native was a board member of the former Rhode Island Hospital Trust National Bank and a former trustee of Bryant University, the Gordon School, Women & Infants Hospital and Trinity Repertory Company.

Kim Chace took his father’s position as a member of the board of directors of Berkshire Hathaway Inc. in 1992, at the time his father decided to retire from that seat.

In 2007, he stepped down from the board of Berkshire Hathaway Inc., the company that served as the investment vehicle for Buffett.

Reached by phone at the Berkshire Hathaway headquarters in Omaha, Neb., Buffett recalled Kim Chace as a capable advisor.

“Both he and his father [Malcolm G. Chace Jr.] were closely identified with Berkshire Hathaway for decades and decades,” Buffett said. “They were enormously supportive for a period of 40-plus years.”

Buffett once described Chace as a “warm gentleman and helpful partner.”

Prosperity from the Chace textile holdings, the relationship with Berkshire Hathaway and other investments placed Kim Chace on the Forbes’ annual list of wealthiest Americans. That prosperity also allowed Chace to support numerous community organizations, hospitals and educational institutions.

“Many people whom Kim either knew well or barely knew were at the receiving end of his kindness and quiet generosity,” the Chace family said in an e-mail to The Journal.

In 1996, the Rhode Island chapter of the National Society of Fund Raising Executives celebrated National Philanthropy Day by honoring Rhode Island residents, corporations and organizations for their community work.

Chace and his wife, Elizabeth Z. “Liz” Chace, received the Helm Award as outstanding philanthropy citizens. The couple were cited for their support for a variety of causes, including the homeless, education, health care, the arts and women’s athletics.

In 1999, Chace and his wife, who survives him, kicked off a fundraiser for Trinity Rep by donation $1.2 million and helping to bring in $20 million.

Also in 1999, the couple gave $1.2 million to Women & Infants Hospital to help endow a clinical chair in obstetrics and gynecology. They endowed a second hospital chair, a professorship of pediatrics and perinatal research.

In May of this year, Women & Infants Hospital dedicated the Malcolm and Elizabeth Chace Education Center.

“They set the pace for the most successful fundraising campaign in the hospital’s history,” Roger Begin, Chairman of Women & Infants Development Foundation, said at the time.

The Chace Family Medical Scholarship at Brown University’s Warren J. Alpert Medical School is financed by the couple.

Also at Brown, the couple endowed the women’s basketball head coaching position, the second such endowed chair in the nation.

The couple made the naming donation for what became the Malcolm and Elizabeth Chace Wellness and Athletic Center at Bryant University in Smithfield. The university’s women’s rowing program owes its start to the Chaces, who helped provide for its humble beginnings – with two used shells Kim Chace secured from Yale University, his alma mater.

“He saw a great little school and he wanted to help, said Ronald K. Machtley, Bryant’s president. “He brought a unique business perspective to the university. It was just a delight to have him on the board.”

In 1997, he endowed the men’s hockey head coach position at Yale.

According to family members, Chace considered the 2009 opening of the Chace Center at the Rhode Island School of Design, which he endowed along with his sisters, to be among his proudest moments in his support of the arts.

Just last month, Johnson & Wales University awarded him a doctorate of business administration in financial services management. He also held honorary degrees from Bryant University and Brown University.

“He was one of the most generous, gentle, humorous people,” said his wife.

Involved in so many Rhode Island institutions and public affairs, Kim Chace nonetheless shunned the spotlight.

In one of his rare interviews, he told Forbes magazine, “I do consider myself lucky.”

By Paul Grimaldi, The Providence Journal, June 25, 2011