Charles W. "Pete"'s Story

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Charles W. “Pete” Morse, Jr., longtime Newbury resident, died unexpectedly at Anna Jaques Hospital on December 6, 2016, with his loving family by his side.
Pete was born in Salem, Mass., on March 6, 1929. He was the eldest of three sons born to the late Charles W. Morse and Louise (Herrick) Morse. The family relocated to High Road, Newbury, when he was a young boy. Pete attended the Woodbridge School and graduated from Governor Dummer Academy with the Class of 1947.
Following an early career as a carpenter-builder, Pete embarked on a second career as a banker with the Newburyport Five Cents Savings Bank, retiring in 1996 after having served as President and CEO. He served as a Trustee for more than 40 years.
During his tenure as president, he was responsible for expanding the bank from its single location on State Street to full-service branches on High Road in Newbury, the Crossroads Plaza in Salisbury, and on Storey Avenue in Newburyport.
Pete Morse was a man of few words who possessed an admirable set of core values. His successful professional and personal relationships were based on mutual respect. He was equally at home sharing a 5:30 a.m. cup of coffee with friends at Taffy’s Luncheonette as he was five hours later chairing a meeting of fellow executives in a board room.
He was often described as firm but very fair, compassionate, humble, and blessed with razor-sharp wit, a keen sense of humor, and the rare ability to tell a great story with his signature dry delivery and perfect sense of timing. He was a devoted husband, caring father and treasured grandfather. These traits and abilities served him to advantage throughout a well-lived life.
A larger-than-life presence in the Newburyport community, he devoted considerable time and energy towards improving the quality of life for all residents. Perhaps it was the Latin motto of his alma mater, Governor Dummer Academy (non sibi sed aliis, “not for self but for others”), that provided the foundation for a lifetime commitment of service to his hometown and the Greater Newburyport community. Beginning in the early 1950s, he served as a volunteer firefighter with Newbury’s Protection Company Number One, and in later years continued to serve the town as a member of the Conservation Commission and the Finance Committee.
During his time at the Newburyport Five Cents Savings Bank, he was actively involved in key leadership positions in area service organizations. He was past president of the Greater Newburyport Chamber of Commerce and provided the idea for the Christmastime in Old Newburyport celebration. This event featured a Santa Claus parade and later visits with Santa Claus at his Inn Street “Workshop,” built by Pete. He also built the visitor’s information booth, still located on Newburyport’s central waterfront. He donated a guest mooring for sailors wishing to visit Newburyport by sea, and for many years stocked the Newbury Upper Green with six Peking ducks, continuing a tradition started by his father in the 1960s.
Two of his most noteworthy commitments were his key role as a founding member and later President and Treasurer of the Newburyport Area Industrial Development Corporation (NAID) and later the NAID Foundation, for which he served as Treasurer from 1989 until his death. He also served as treasurer and on the board of directors of Anna Jaques Hospital.
As active as his professional life was, he made time to relax and pursue his three main interests: boating, skiing and woodworking. To say he cherished his time on the water would be an understatement. The size and type of boat made no difference. Rowing a dory was as enjoyable to him as being at the helm of his 40-foot sloop, so long as he felt the wind in his face and could smell the salt air. From his early boyhood summers on Bakers Island, off Salem Harbor, to sculling his hand-crafted sneak float in the creeks of Newbury marshes in search of waterfowl, to cruising the coast of Maine with family in one of his classic sailboats, to searching for mackerel off Breaking Rocks, to exploring the Parker River for smelt and oysters, he was happiest in a boat. Ashore, he was a long-time member of the American Yacht Club and the North End Boat Club. To paraphrase a line from The Wind in the Willows, he simply liked messing about in boats.
During the winter, Pete and Priscilla looked forward to spending time at their ski home in Jackson, N.H., which offered the perfect opportunity to challenge the trails of nearby ski areas. An accomplished alpine skier, he continued to ski well into his 80s, even after multiple hip replacements. Pete liked nothing better than gracefully carving turns in fresh powder.
In retirement, his woodworking shop was a source of great pleasure. He could often be found creating his signature Shaker-style furniture one day and fashioning a mahogany replacement part for one of our local boat yards the next.
Pete is survived by his wife of 69 years, Priscilla (Hanna) Morse of Newbury; his son, Charles W. Morse III and his wife, Janice of South Hampton, N.H. ; his daughter, Bonita J. Morse and her husband, Moss Quinlan of Newbury; his granddaughter, Katie Morse Yeomans and her husband, Rob Yeomans, and their sons, Jack and Cody Yeomans of Newton, N.H.; granddaughter, Alysa Morse of Seabrook, N.H.; and granddaughter, Sarah Quinlan and her husband, John Ridgley of Littleton, Colo., and their two sons, Peter and Philip. He also leaves behind his youngest brother, Donald Morse and his wife, Judith M. Morse, as well as several nephews and dear friends. He was predeceased by his brother, Dr. Robert L. Morse.
At the request of the family, there will be no calling hours. A private burial will be held at the convenience of his family. The Twomey, LeBlanc, & Conte Funeral Home, 193 High St., Newburyport, MA 01950 is assisting Mr. Morse’s family with his funeral arrangements.
In lieu of flowers, donations may be made in Pete’s memory to Anna Jaques Community Health Foundation, 25 Highland Avenue, Newburyport, MA 01950.
To offer online condolences, please visit www.tlcfuneralhome.com.
Published on  December 13, 2016
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