Scott and Laura Fossett and their daughters Natalie and Hannah listen Sunday as friends speak about their son or brother, Chase Fossett, at a vigil at Gardiner Area High School. A graduate of the school, Chase Fossett died Dec. 10 in an automobile crash with three classmates from Maine Maritime Academy in Castine. He was 21. A strong student and athlete, Fossett was remembered for his commitment to his family, fondness for others, love of fly fishing and large, diverse group of friends. Andy Molloy/Kennebec Journal

GARDINER — With hundreds of people lining the track at Hoch Field for more than an hour Sunday, the gathering carried the feeling of a reunion.

And in many ways it was: For that brief time, those people came together publicly to celebrate the life of Chase Fossett, 21, who was killed Dec. 10 along with three other Maine Maritime Academy students in Castine when their car crashed into the woods.

They were relatives, friends, classmates, parents of friends and community members who came together to hold lighted candles against the winter dark in Fossett’s memory, painting a picture of a boy who was shy but had many friends, an athlete, a nature lover and a thoughtful man who is mourned.

“We have had our wonderful family with us, carrying us through this, all of you, our community,” Laura Fossett, Chase’s mother, said after the memorial began with a brief period of silence. “We understand there are no words but yet sharing your love, thoughts and prayers on social media. Bringing us flowers and food, those who have dropped by, giving us hugs and sharing their memories. Chase’s boys — The Boys — bringing us hugs and lovely messages. You are forever our family. You have lifted us up.”

Jack Fles, the father of Chase’s friend Jacob, offered up a quote from the Bible: “When one member of our community shall suffer, all our neighbors share the pain. And if one member of our community rejoices, all the members shall rejoice.”

Fles said Chase was a quiet boy who did not say much, but had a presence to which Fles was always drawn. The boys grew up together and the families shared birthdays and other events, and spent many summer glory days at the Fossetts’ camp on China Lake.


“My friends, we right now are in a fog,” Fles said. “We pace our homes in silence. It’s cold, wet and uncomfortable. Emotions arise out of nowhere like a bad storm. Tears wash over us. Our salty tears fall hoping to put out the fire of our discontent. On the ocean or in the heavens in a fog, we are lost without a compass. We cannot tell if we are heading north, south, east or west — confused, lost and numb.”

Classmates, teammates and other friends sign a card Sunday during a vigil for Chase Fossett at Gardiner Area High School. Andy Molloy/Kennebec Journal

Fles urged those present to hold one another in love as they give thanks for the life of Chase Fossett.

Scott Fossett, Chase’s father, also addressed the crowd, acknowledging he is not a public speaker.

“I’m just thankful for all of you and the support our family has drawn from that … to help us through each day,” he said tearfully, thanking those who organized the memorial. “Let’s just take this and gain strength from it to work through it together. Our house is always open to any of you to come visit and say hi.”

He recalled his son as a young boy was “a terror,” finding trouble with his friend, Jacob, but he credited his wife and two daughters with helping Chase to find his sweetness and to open his heart.

Joe Fossett, Chase’s uncle, said he had not had the chance to spend much time with just his nephew, but recalled when Chase invited him to go skiing last winter on the day his daughter, Aubrey, was returning to college in Kansas for the spring semester, noting that it is hard to say goodbye, even for a short time.


On that day, he said, being with him and talking with him gave him a sense of peace.

Those who attended the memorial were encouraged to share memories about Chase among themselves, and the memorial concluded with a fireworks display.

Hundreds of supporters hold candles Sunday during a vigil for Chase Fossett at Gardiner Area High School. Andy Molloy/Kennebec Journal

Chase Fossett was an international business and logistics major in his junior year at Maine Maritime Academy. He graduated from Gardiner Area High School in 2020, where he played soccer and lacrosse, and was captain of the lacrosse team his senior year.

During summers, he worked  in central Maine. Last summer, he worked at Everett J. Prescott Inc. as a logistics intern. The year before, he worked as a loan processor intern at Kennebec Savings Bank.

Maine Maritime Academy held its own memorial Dec. 12.

A memorial service is planned for 3 p.m. Monday at Christ Church at 2 Dresden Ave. in Gardiner. To honor Chase, the family is requesting casual dress — flannel, hoodies and jeans.

The service will also be livestreamed on the church’s Facebook page.

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