Michelle (Shelly) Chase, born in 1953, grew up in Farmington and West Hartford, CT, and lived in Stamford, CT from 1994 until her death on July 12, 2018. Shelly, who struggled most of her adult life with mental and physical illnesses, was a strong advocate for the rights of people living with serious mental illness. A graduate of UConn Law ('87) and a member of the Connecticut Bar Association, Shelly lobbied before the State Capitol in Hartford and lectured on mental health law. She was active with several mental health advocacy organizations, especially the Southwest CT chapter of the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) and Laurel House, a Stamford-based supportive community. Shelly was deeply engaged with disability rights, but her first love was the arts. She held a BA an arts program from Barnard College ('77) and an AA from Hartford College for Women ('73). She founded the Laurel House Art Association, where she facilitated a weekly arts course and orchestrated an art show featuring Laurel House artists' works. Shelly was a graduate of Hall High School in West Hartford ('71). Shelly is survived by siblings Pauline (Polly) Beam, Francine (Tina) (Albert) Mayas, Rodney (Peter) (Annette) Chase, and Andrew (Kimberlee Hall) Chase. She also leaves three nieces and two nephews. She is predeceased by parents Rodney S. Chase and Sally Lou Cruikshank Chase. Her memorial service will be Sunday, Sep 23, 2018 at 12:30 PM in the Chapel of the First Congregational Church of Stamford, 1 Walton Place, Stamford, CT. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made in Shelly's name to NAMI Southwest CT (namisouthwestct.org) or Laurel House (laurelhouse.net).
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