Edward K. Morse

Oct 11, 2016
Edward Morse

Owls Head — Dr. Edward King Morse passed away peacefully at home Friday, Sept. 30, 2016, at the age of 98.  Dr. Morse, better known as E.K. to friends and neighbors, was born in Newton, Mass., June 15, 1918, to wonderful parents, Ada Blanche Morse and Edwin John Morse, of Waban, Mass.  He attended Newton High School, graduating in 1936. He later attended Middlebury College before attending Tufts University Medical School. He completed his residency in surgery at Beverly Hospital in Massachusetts.

Dr. Morse joined the Army, serving in Italy and Germany during World War II, and was promoted to the rank of captain. Later he served as the ship's physician on the schooner Bowdoin, Arctic Expedition with Adm. Donald B. MacMillan (see National Geographic Volume 100, Number 4, October 1951). It was through the MacMillans that he met his first wife, Helga Knudsen, a Danish citizen who was born in Greenland.

After marrying Helga and completing his residency, Dr. Morse moved to Camden, where he established a medical practice at the urging of his childhood friend, Dr William A. McLellan.  He was later joined in 1975 by his cousin Dr. Gordon T. Paine. A true general surgeon, he performed a full range of surgeries and procedures, from gynecology and orthopedics to pediatrics. Dr. Morse even made house calls, often receiving vegetables, eggs, lobsters or, from one particular patient, a rum spice cake in payment. One stormy night, the Coast Guard brought him out to sea to care for a badly injured fisherman; Dr. Morse set the man's broken legs on the deck of the heaving ship so he could be taken back to the mainland.

Dr. Morse was the second board-certified surgeon in Knox County, and his contributions to the local community were many. He started the local ambulance service in the 1960s with only hearses available, and also trained all of the EMTs. He developed a radio communication system for emergency coordination using KJI605 as his call sign, carrying a suitcase radio to always be available, no matter where he was. At the end of the night, he would play a bit of music for the operator on the car radio before he signed off.

Always concerned with providing medical care for those who could least afford it, he was involved in the Rockland District Nursing Association, along with Eliza Steele.

When Ambulatory Care lost its Office of Economic Opportunity grant, he, along with other physicians in Knox County, including Dr. Don Weaver and Dr. Johan Brouwer, took over the Public Service Hospital at Martin's Point in Portland.

After serving on the board of directors at Martin’s Point HealthCare for many years, he was honored with the creation of the Edward Morse Award for Clinical Excellence given to deserving outstanding physicians.

In 1967, he formed the Schooner Bowdoin Association. With the help of others he rescued the schooner Bowdoin, raised and contributed money for her restoration, enabling the historic schooner to become a floating school and eventually become the official vessel of the state of Maine and the flagship of the Maine Maritime Academy in Castine.  He was very grateful to all who helped and supported his efforts, including Capt. Jim Sharp, Capt. John Nugent, Sonny Hodgdon and many others.

He enjoyed hunting at Vern and Freda Stubbs' Jerry Pond Camps with his good friends Frank and Lucy Kibbe. Together with the Kibbes, he also owned a camp in Rangeley where they enjoyed hiking, hunting and skiing at Saddleback. An avid sailor, he sailed Penobscot Bay and beyond with the Brouwer family of Camden on their yawl, Swamp Fox. Many good times were had aboard Swamp Fox with the Brouwers, as well as at their home in Cushing.

Visitors were always welcome at the Morse home on High Street in Camden and later at Ginn Point, Owls Head.

E. K. loved people and enjoyed sharing cocktails and dinner with guests while regaling them with stories, limericks and songs.

He was always learning and always educating. An inventor and tinkerer, he always found a way to make things work. Several of his gadgets proved to be quite handy, including the electric hockey puck which could be found in dark corners when it slid off to the side of the Kibbes' pond during impromptu night games.

He was founder and Commodore of the Ginn & Tonic Yacht Club.

He was adventurous and had a great sense of humor; his generosity, dedication and kindness knew no bounds. He is greatly missed by many.

Nine years after the death of his first wife, Helga, he married her sister, Inger Margarete Holm, who passed away in 2013.

Predeceased by his sister Evelyn Morse, Dr. Morse is survived by his son, Christopher Edward Morse, of Cumberland Center; three stepsons, Arne Holm of Raleigh, N.C., William Holm of Camden, Edward Holm of Chapel Hill, N.C.; his younger sister, Eleanor Dorothy Hunt, of Catonsville, Md.; five nephews, Ronald Hunt of Parkville, Md., Jeffery Hunt of Mechanicsville, Va., David Hunt of Seaford, Va., Louis Morse of Vancouver, British Columbia, Michael Morse of Rothesay, New Brunswick ; two nieces, Anne Lord of Leverville, New Brunswick, Eleanor Morse of Saint Stephen, New Brunswick; as well as his cousin Dr. Gordon T. Paine of Camden.

At his request there will be no funeral; his life will be celebrated by close friends and family at his home in Owls Head.

To share a memory or condolence with Dr. Morse’s family, visit his Book of Memories at bchfh.com. Arrangements are with Burpee, Carpenter & Hutchins Funeral Home, Rockland.

Comments (3)
Posted by: Ken Pride | Oct 15, 2016 21:55

Dr. Morse was my parents' doctor back in the 1980's.  They loved him and I believe he had a nurse known as "Brownie".  My parents always spoke of Dr. Morse as a friend as well as a physician.  My father always sent them postcards from his travels and they shared stories and jokes.   He sounded like a man who had a  long fulfilling happy life.  We certainly were grateful mom and dad were under his care.  Mom is still with us at 97 and Dad died at 95 and would have been 97 in March.  He and Dr. Morse are up there swapping stories I am sure.  Condolences to his family.

MaryBeth Pride

Posted by: Cynthia Mary Anderson | Oct 13, 2016 16:15

I worked with Dr. Morse at PBMC for a few years before his retirement.  He was a kind and fun doctor to work with; very committed to his patients and their well-being.  I remember him taking his cousin, Dr. Gordon Paine, under his wing and how very proud of him he was.  Dr. Paine went on to follow in his cousin's footsteps, and soon built a legacy of his own.  How blessed we were to have such competent, compassionate physicians in our community.  RIP Dr. Morse.  You earned it.

Posted by: Mary A McKeever | Oct 12, 2016 17:47

RIP Dr. Morse. He was a great humanitarian and a good doctor. I had the privilege of receiving his humanitarian care once when Dr. McClellan was away. Upon reading this obit I am saddened I did not know him personally as he did so much in his interesting life. My condolences to the family and the greater community of Camden, Maine.

Mary "Mickey" (Brown) McKeever

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