Obituary: Thomas Parker Morse, 1980-2021 | Obituaries | Seven Days | Vermont's Independent Voice

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Obituary: Thomas Parker Morse, 1980-2021 

Eighth-generation sugar maker was a true Renaissance man

Published December 6, 2021 at 6:05 a.m. | Updated December 14, 2021 at 5:20 p.m.

click to enlarge Thomas Morse - COURTESY PHOTO
  • Courtesy Photo
  • Thomas Morse

Thomas Parker Morse, born on August 7, 1980, was a dedicated and loving father, husband, son and friend. He was a true Renaissance man: an eighth-generation maple sugar maker, a lover of books and history (especially Vermont history and his family’s connection to it), an amateur writer and poet, a composer and arranger, and a hunter. His passion was sugaring, and he felt honored to work the land that he loved and that his father and grandfather had farmed before him.

He was a talented musician, namely a trumpeter and a flügelhornist, but also was trained in classical piano and dabbled in electric bass as a boy. He loved playing his trumpet and performed around Vermont with countless bands in a wide range of styles, from funk to blues to rock to jazz and everything in between. He was widely admired and recognized for his beautiful tone on trumpet, his instantly recognizable sound, and his understated but intentional approach to improvisation.

He enjoyed watching sports in his rare free time, especially baseball and basketball, and was a die-hard Red Sox fan. He loved listening to a wide variety of music, from heavy metal to jazz, and would regularly share songs he was inspired by with his wife and friends. He loved driving the backroads of Calais and was among the few who could navigate any combination of roads in central Vermont without using a map.

Tom was known for his incredible kindness and caring, always taking time to stop and ask folks how they were doing and about their family, and seemingly never forgot a name.

He had many dear friends from all walks of life who meant the world to him, including those from his childhood and schooling years, music community, fellow multigenerational Vermonters, fellow farmers, hunting buddies, and many others.

He leaves behind Monika Morse, his wife; daughter Caitrin; stepdaughter Emma and her son Liam; father Burr and his late wife, Betsy; brother Robinson and his partner, Miriam; and Lance and Dorothea, his in-laws. A special thanks to his many friends, family and acquaintances for their thoughts, prayers and search efforts.

A celebration of Tom’s life has not been finalized but will be forthcoming.

A poem by Thomas:

The Calais Stage

When I used to bring Harry for rides
I always knew the only direction to go was north,
Up the Calais Stage toward Maple Corner and Woodbury Gulf.
Before too long Harry would make his usual comment
About today's drivers with heavy feet and weak minds,
After all, Harry grew up in a time when the only traffic
On the road were a couple Model T's and the stagecoach.

Harry's father, Sydney, drove the coach.
When the morning chores were done,
Young Harry would sometimes accompany his father,
And they would bring country folk down from the hills,
And into the village of Montpelier,
Then a day long trip, now a fifteen minute cruise,
For those with a heavy foot.

My Grandfather Harry and his father Sidney lived long lives,
Watched most of their road get paved,
And saw new houses sprout like clover;
In fields that no longer yielded hay.

While these changes saddened them,
They knew that change, like death and taxes were inevitable
And welcomed in their new neighbor
In his twilight years, when his driving days were over;
I had the privilege of taking Harry
On his beloved rides, up the old stage coach road,
Past his birthplace, and past Maple Corner;
Where the road turns to dirt, and on into the Gulf,
Where there are no houses, and County Road
Looks like the Calais Stage that it once was.
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