Charles W. “Pete” Morse, Jr.
1929 – 2016
Pete was born in Salem, Massachusetts , on March 6, 1929. The family relocated to High Road, Newbury , when he was a young boy. He 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, CEO, and as a Bank Trustee for more than 40 years.
Pete 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 an early morning cup of coffee with an eclectic group of friends at a local luncheonette as he was later in the day chairing a meeting of fellow executives in a board room.
He was often described as firm but very fair, compassionate, humble, and blessed with a 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. 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 area. Beginning in the 1950’s, 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, he was actively involved in key leadership positions in area service organizations. Pete was a past president of the Greater Newburyport Chamber of Commerce and during his tenure provided the idea for the Christmas in Old Newburyport celebration, even personally constructing Santa’s Workshop that, until this year, would be on Inn Street for the holiday season. He also built the Visitor’s Information Booth in 1996 which is located on the Newburyport’s central waterfront and was dedicated to his memory by the Chamber of Commerce this past Summer. Pete also donated and maintained a Guest Mooring for boaters visiting Newburyport. It was in memory of his father and the inscription read: ” In memory of Charles W. Morse – He taught his sons the ways of the seas.”
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 Charitable Foundation. 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 that he cherished his time on or near 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, Whiteout, as long as he felt the wind in his face and could smell the salt air. From his early boyhood Summer’s on Bakers Island, off Salem Harbor, to sculling his hand-crafted sneak float in the creeks of the Newbury marshes in search of waterfowl, to cruising the coast of Maine in one of his classic sailboats, to fishing for mackerel off of Breaking Rocks, to exploring the Parker River for smelt and oysters, he was happiest in a boat. To borrow a line from Rat in Kenneth Grahame’s The Wind In the Willows, Pete knew that there was ” nothing half so much worth doing as simply messing about in boats.” Ashore, he was a long-time member of the American Yacht Club and the North End Boat Club.
Pete “crossed the bar” on December 6, 2016