photo: Father Maurice Chase hands out a $100 dollar bill to a homeless man outside the Fred Jordan Mission on Christmas day in Downtown Los Angeles. (Wally Skalij / Los Angeles Times / December 25, 2003)
Rev. Maurice Chase, a Catholic priest known as “Father Dollar Bill” for his holiday giveaways of $1 bills to the homeless on Skid Row, died Sunday night at his home in Los Angeles after a battle with cancer. He was 92.
Funeral services were pending Monday for the Rev. Maurice Chase, a Catholic priest known as “Father Dollar Bill” for his holiday giveaways of $1 bills to the homeless on Skid Row.
Chase, 92, died Sunday night at his home in Los Angeles after a battle with cancer, according to his nephew, Robert Boyd.
“He was a really great, colorful, wonderful man,” he said.
Chase was a fixture on Skid Row in downtown Los Angeles on holidays such as Easter and Thanksgiving. The homeless and poor would line up for blocks as Chase would hand out $1 bills — or sometimes larger denominations to the particularly needy.
On Easter, Chase stood outside the Salvation Army shelter and handed out about $20,000, much of which was donated by celebrities including Bob Newhart and Dolores Hope. Last Thanksgiving, he handed out about $15,000.
“I met him and knew his work,” said Los Angeles Police Department Lt. Paul Vernon, head of detectives in the Central Division, which includes Skid Row. “He was a good man and an institution in Skid Row. He will be missed not for his money but for the example that he set and the life that he lived.
“ He certainly gave with his heart. He was a very caring, sincere man who lived his life consistent with his beliefs to help the most disadvantaged,” Vernon said. “I know he had been handing out dollar bills going back over 30 years.”
Chase is survived by two sisters and more than a dozen nieces and nephews.