John Kase helped make D-Day possible

news-kaseOne Charlottesvillian who didn't survive all the way to the 65th anniversary of D-Day but who help make it possible was John Kase (right in photo shot in 1996) who died May 24 at the age of 94. A career theater man, he got his first such job at 15 as an usher at the Jefferson Theater for 25 cents an hour. He rose to larger roles within the company, Dominion Theaters, which also owned the Lafayette and University Theaters, the latter of which he was managing in 1942 when he joined the Army to became part of the 831st Aviation Engineers, which built an Allied airfield near the village of Willingale, and he lamented the destruction of gorgeous pasture. Kase got back his job as manager of the University Theater upon his return in late 1945. He later worked as a "troubleshooter" for Neighborhood Theaters across the state, eventually settling into a spartan little office (now the Flat crepe stand) at the back of the Jefferson Theater along Water Street near the mammoth popper that supplied popcorn for most of the Charlottesville theaters. Among his tasks were demolishing the Lafayette to build a Rose's in the 1960s and building and then demolishing the Ridge Drive-In, which is today the site of the Hydraulic Road Kroger. He continued work until Neighborhood was purchased in 1988 by Canadia-based Cineplex-Odeon.

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