Deceased January 23, 2011
Jack passed away on Jan. 23, 2011, at his home in Pelham, Mass., from mesothelioma, first diagnosed last fall. His wife, Carolyn (Bartram, Smith ’54), and members of his family were with him.
For his college years, Jack is remembered as a swimmer and cross-country runner who worked regularly at Valentine. After Cornell Law School and U.S. Army service at Fort Dix, he practiced in his family’s Northampton, Mass., law firm for more than 20 years. In 1973, he was appointed to be a district court judge. He served in that capacity until 1997, becoming the presiding judge of the Northampton District Court in 1978. He was then called back from retirement to serve part time until 2006 in the local juvenile court.
Jack and Carolyn lived for 30 years in their dream home in Pelham with a view looking westward across the Pioneer Valley, with the buildings of Amherst College in the foreground. Ever the swimmer, Jack enjoyed his home’s outdoor pool that offered that sweeping view, swimming there from early spring to late fall. He loved being outdoors.
As a judge handling a wide variety of matters, Jack became known for his compassion, his fatherly qualities and his willingness to listen through the longest legal arguments. Local lawyers remember him for his kindness to them in their first days in the courtroom. Before and after his service as a judge, he was active in civic and charitable affairs, running unsuccessfully for mayor of Northampton in 1963 after two terms on the city council there.
In addition to his wife, Jack is survived by three of their four children, Richard ’78 of Amherst; Elizabeth Beane of Renton, Wash.; and Stephen of Sunderland, Mass.; and five grandchildren. His father, Alvertus D. Morse, with whom he practiced law for two decades, was a 1926 graduate of the college.
Richard B. Morse ’78
Everett E. Clark ’51