1933 - 2012
Charles “Chuck” David Morse was born March 19, 1933 near Overton, Texas. He died at home in Walla Walla on August 20, 2012 surrounded by family. He was the fourth of ten children to Ercy Almer Morse, Sr. and Beunia Lavada Johnson. They lived in Texas during the Great Depression.
When he was 6, he was temporarily blinded by a gunpowder blast. He attributed this near loss of his sight to his lifelong love of art and his appreciation for the beauty of nature.
At age 15 he left school to work in construction. He worked high scaling, tied to a rope, drilling for the insertion of dynamite and dislodging boulders for highway construction along the Columbia River Gorge and at Stanley, Idaho. At age 17, he started working at the Kennecott copper mine in Ray, Arizona, where he drove a Euclid ore hauler. There, he met and married Yvonne Pruett in 1953. They had three children: Charles Glenn, Deborah Lynn, and Stanley Vernon.
During the Korean War, he was drafted into the USArmy and served two years in Fairbanks, Alaska. He was awarded a “Coonskin Cap” for excellence in sharp shooting.
After leaving the military he returned to Ray, Arizona and to the Kennecott copper mine. He challenged the establishment in a company town by founding the local United Steelworkers Union. Charles fought unfair corporate practices and promoted worker’s rights as their president for 20 years.
Charles also believed in the value of education, in “being a builder, not a destroyer”. He attended night school and completed his GED in 1968, then took classes at the local college.
In 1982 he married Frances Shearer in Pasco, Washington and helped raise her two youngest children, instilling in them his values of education and hard work.
He worked for many years as a pipe fitter and instrument fitter during construction of the Fast Flux Test Facility at Hanford and later at the WPPSS #2 reactor (the Columbia Generating Station). In later years, he worked all over the Northwest. His “clean room” certification was in demand at microchip manufacturing plants. He retired in 1998.
During his retirement Charles thoroughly enjoyed gardening, target practice, woodworking, automotive repair and his beloved shop. He was a history buff and an ardent lover of WWII aircraft, building model airplanes. He sketched and loved art. He also loved spoiling his grandchildren.
In 2010, Charles and Frances moved to Walla Walla, Washington, and embraced their new community and friendly neighbors.
Charles is survived by his wife Frances; his children: Glenn & Renee Morse, Deborah Morse, and Stan & Ally Morse; his stepchildren: Donna & Perry Spencer, Barbara & Rick Dunlap, Renee Shearer Schroetlin, and Jeffrey Shearer; brothers: Tom and Mitchell; sisters: Carolyn Sue, Ginger, Brenda and Elaine; and 12 grandchildren.
He was preceded in death by his parents, and siblings Nancy, Stanley, Ercy Almer Jr., and John.
The family is holding a private memorial service. In lieu of flowers, donations to the Walla Walla Community Hospice are being coordinated by the Mountain View-Colonial DeWitt Funeral Home, 1551 Dalles Military Rd, Walla Walla, WA 99362.
Friends may write memories and sign an online guestbook at www.mountainview-colonialdewitt.com.