Muriel Wallenstein, better known as Murph Chase, the widow of WOWO and Komets broadcaster Bob Chase, died Tuesday morning at age 96 from natural causes.
The couple met in 1948 with her turning down his offer to dance in a Munising, Michigan, dance hall. Two months later, they met again in Marquette, Michigan, this time with an introduction from his mother, who was a fellow nurse at St. Luke's Hospital.
“One thing led to another, and I would go up and see Mom more often in the hopes I could see Murph again,” Chase said in his autobiography, “Live from Radio Rinkside.”
Appropriately, their first date was a hockey game.
“I took her home and went to give her a goodnight kiss and pecked her right on the top of the nose,” he said. “I figured that was it, I'd blown it and she'd never want to go out with me again. I've improved a little bit since then.”
Murph had been married previously, but her husband had been killed in a 1944 car accident. They had a son named Mike Belfry who was 6 years old when the couple met.
When they were courting, because Munising was about 45 miles from his hometown of Marquette, Chase used to sleep in the woods, until one day he woke up to see a hunter pointing a rifle at him. After that, her father allowed him to sleep in the house. He proposed in 1949, and she accepted with the condition that he finish his college education. They were married April 6, 1950.
The Wallensteins moved to Fort Wayne on July 1, 1953, and once again she had a huge influence when WOWO Program Manager Guy Harris suggested a change in Wallenstein's last name.
“He said, `Go home and talk it over with the wife and let me know in a day or two what you want to be called.' I said, `Well, what the heck, I've got it already. I'll keep the name Bob and just call myself Bob Chase.'”
Chase was Murph's maiden name. Since she was one of five sisters, her father loved the idea as well.
Kurt Wallenstein was born in 1955, followed by Karin in 1958 and David in 1962. Mike died in 2017, but the other three children were at Murph's bedside Tuesday. There are also nine grandchildren and 11 great-grandchildren.
She retired as a nurse at age 72.
“I don't know what kind of a life I'd have had without Murph,” Chase wrote. “There would be no way my life could have been as totally fulfilling as this is. The thing about it is, it doesn't quit. It stays that way, and we still have fun. The other day we were walking out of one of the stores hand in hand, and I said, `Who'd have thought two old people 82 and 84 years old would walk down the street holding hands.' It's just a natural thing that we do.”
At the time of his death in 2016 at age 90, the Wallensteins had been married for 66 years.
Services are pending.