Dr. Tim Chase was Monticello through and through . . . born and raised in Monticello, a graduate of Monticello High School and the University of Arkansas at Monticello, a Billie and Boll Weevil for life.

Dr. Chase lost a battle with cancer on April 15, just weeks before he was to become the 54th recipient of UAM’s Distinguished Alumnus Award. He leaves behind a wife, two daughters, and a legion of friends and admirers.

“I’ve known Tim since we started kindergarten together in 1968,” said Mark Tiner, who like Dr. Chase, graduated from UAM in 1985. Now senior vice president at Union Bank in Monticello, Tiner and Dr. Chase were lifelong friends. “This is a terrible blow to me personally, but more so to his family and the city of Monticello. Tim played such an important role in this community and he will be sorely missed.”

Dr. Chase was chosen to be this year’s Distinguished Alumnus shortly after an initial meeting with UAM Chancellor Karla Hughes in January. “Tim came to see me about UAM hosting this year’s Arkansas Mission of Mercy,” said Hughes, “but he began by telling me his story, how he fulfilled a lifelong dream by coming to UAM and receiving a degree, and how this institution prepared him to succeed in dental school. It was such a wonderful, uplifting story that I was mesmerized.”

As a UAM student, Dr. Chase was a member of Alpha Chi honor society, the Medical Science Club, Student Government Association, Who’s Who Among American Colleges and Universities, a Red Cross water safety instructor, and in 1985, an honor graduate.

He graduated with honors from the University of Tennessee College of Dentistry in Memphis in 1989 with a doctor of dental surgery degree, spent one year as a general practice resident at the University of Kentucky’s Chandler Medical Center, then returned to Monticello to open a private dental practice.

He held a number of offices with the Arkansas State Dental Association, serving as the organization’s president in 2009-10. He was a charter member of the board of directors of the Arkansas Mission of Mercy, which provides free dental care to the poor. He also served on the board of the Arkansas State Dental Examiners and was president of the Southeast District Dental Society.

Always active in community affairs, Dr. Chase served 12 years as an Alderman on the Monticello City Council and served as the city’s interim mayor after the death of his father-in-law, Allen Maxwell. Dr. Chase was also a past-president of the Monticello Rotary Club and was active in the Monticello School Foundation, Chamber of Commerce, First Baptist Church, and a coach of both Little League baseball and softball.

“I think most of us who grew up with Tim knew he’d be a leader,” said Blair Brown, director of athletics at Monticello High School and a UAM classmate. “Tim was that guy who kept us all pointed in the right direction. When we were about to stray too far from the straight and narrow, he’d pull us back.”