Everett Frank Morse, 100, of Ithaca, NY, died peacefully at home, in the presence of his loving family, on July 17, 2017.

Everett is survived by his wife and best friend of 55 years, June RC Morse. Whenever Everett was asked the secret to his long and happy life, his answer was always a definitive “June.” He is also survived by his daughter, Ann Morse; son, Jonathan Morse; Jonathan's wife, Liz Morse; and grandchildren Dylan, Isabel, and Rosie Morse — all of whom could not have wished for a more loving, gentle father and grandfather.

Everett was born in Pasadena, CA, to the late Wilhelmina Cohn Morse and Clarence Fitchette Morse. He was one of two children, his brother being the late Fleet Morse, also of Ithaca. Although born in California, Everett was an Ithacan at heart. He was proud of having descended from a long line of Morses who lived, studied, and worked in Ithaca and Trumansburg since the early 1800s.

In his early years, Everett’s family lived in Hollywood, CA, Portland, OR, and New York City. After the family returned to Ithaca, Everett attended the East Hill and Cayuga Heights elementary schools. He loved to recount riding the Ithaca trolleys, sledding down Buffalo Street, ice skating on Beebe Lake, and adventures with his Wyckoff Road neighbors. He later attended the Solebury School in New Hope, PA, from which he graduated in 1938 with many fond memories. After graduation, he enjoyed traveling with his family across country by train and bicycling and hiking in Europe with his cousin Dallas Morse Coors.

Everett attended Lafayette College in Easton, PA, where he was a member of Chi Phi Fraternity and a manager of the tennis team. In 1942, a month after graduating from Lafayette, he was drafted into the US Army. He spent his basic training as an amphibious engineer at Camp Edwards and Otis Air Force Base in Massachusetts and at Camp Gordon Johnston in Florida, before travelling to Biak, an island in Indonesia, where he served throughout World War II. He recalled returning to Ithaca by prop plane on Christmas Eve, 1945, and was pleased to have a narrative of his wartime experiences archived at the Library of Congress.

Between 1946 and 1960, Everett worked for the Veterans Administration in Batavia, an import-export company on Wall Street, and Hall-McChesney in Syracuse. In 1960 he returned to Ithaca, where he worked at Cornell’s Mann Library, an experience that motivated him to become a librarian — a profession that suited his quiet temperament and desire to help others. While pursuing his Master in Library Science degree from Syracuse University, Everett met June, who had come from England to work in Syracuse for a year on a Fulbright Teacher Exchange. After graduating in 1962, Everett traveled to England, where he and June were engaged to be married. While June continued her teaching career in London, Everett worked as a librarian at the English-Speaking Union, a cultural exchange program. They were married in June’s hometown, and, after their daughter’s birth, traveled back to the US by ship, in a cabin filled with freesias. Three years later their son, Jonathan, was born in Ithaca.

In 1964, Everett worked as a librarian at SUNY Cortland, and in 1965 he accepted a position at Ithaca College. It was there that he enjoyed 23 years as a reference librarian until his retirement in 1988. Those who attended his retirement celebration may remember his short but heartfelt thank-you speech, which summed up his approach to life: “Be kind to one another.”

Everett had a lifelong interest in photography, genealogy, and Ithaca history and was a longtime member of the Lansing–Ithaca Rotary Club and the Sons of the American Revolution. He took great pleasure in volunteering at The History Center in Tompkins County, where he served from 1991 until this spring. He also was thrilled by the Ithaca Aviation Heritage Foundation’s “Tommy Come Home” project, and we know he will be soaring with the rebuilt Thomas-Morse S4-B Scout airplane when it returns to the skies in 2018.

Everett was a gardener who loved all plants equally, from his favorite thistles, bee balm, and clover to antique irises, precious freesias, and Farrand peonies. He also was a passionate birdwatcher who, as a child, enjoyed bird walks with Cornell Lab of Ornithology founder Arthur “Doc” Allen. Everett was delighted when, several summers ago, a red-tail hawk landed on his knee. Everett savored the simple things in life. He appreciated the whimsical, loved a good laugh, had a mischievous smile, and never met a bowl of ice cream he didn’t like. He was a true gentleman who treated all he met with kindness and courtesy. He had a firm handshake, even at 100, and believed in the importance of gratitude, a virtue he practiced until the very end of his life.

The family gives thanks to all those who helped to care for Everett in his later years, including the many excellent aides at CareGivers Home Care and the staff at Hospicare. They also extend their appreciation to Donna Eschenbrenner and the rest of the staff at The History Center in Tompkins County. Most of all, the family gives thanks to Everett, the most caring man they’ve ever known.

In keeping with Everett’s wishes, a small graveside ceremony will be planned for later this summer. Burial arrangements are by the Lansing Funeral Home. In lieu of flowers, donations in Everett’s memory may be made to The History Center in Tompkins County.