Harry Bruce Morse
Harry Bruce Morse – 90, lifelong resident of Somerset, passed away peacefully on Tuesday, March 21, 2023, in Valley Regional Hospital, Kentville, surrounded by his loving family. Born in Berwick, he was a son of the late Kenneth and Marguerite (White) Morse.
Harry owned and operated Harry Morse Farms, a staple U-Pick in the valley. A determined farmer through and through, he worked right up until a traumatic fall in late 2022. When he wasn’t tending the fields, or telling stories to his many admirers, he was seen flying his 1941 Stearman mistress, "The Time Machine", and feeling the Annapolis Valley’s grandeur while hoping to touch the face of God. She was his passion, a compulsion, his freedom!
Harry often graced the sky to entertain family, friends, and acquaintances through short excursions, mostly from his backyard runway, and for a variety of community events including the official opening of the RCAF, Greenwood Military Aviation Museum where a ride in The Time Machine was awarded to various lucky recipients, fly-ins associated with The Annapolis Valley Apple Blossom Festival and Berwick Gala Day and a fly-over and aerobatic display during the re-opening of the Ross Farm – Living Heritage Museum in New Ross. Harry and his Time Machine were also a favorite for many years at the summer Experimental Aircraft Association (EAA), Stanley Sport Aviation Annual Fly-In, where he gave some impressive aerobatic performances and attracted those hoping to catch a quick ride, and at the Waterville Fly-Ins, where he won the award for the Best Vintage Aircraft in 1993.
For many years, Harry hosted an event at the Morse family farm called, The Strawberry Fly-In, that attracted aviation buffs from all Maritime Provinces. It was undertaken on behalf of the Scotia Eagles Chapter 1051 of the EAA and was the site for their Annual General Meeting. Harry in his Time Machine still decorates the header of their website homepage.
In early life, Harry was extremely athletic, excelling in track & field, boxing, and archery, and was inducted into the Berwick Sports Hall of Fame in 2008 for playing with the 1949 Berwick Red Sox Juvenile Baseball Team. He loved to hunt, fish, dance, sing, play the piano, act in community theatre productions, and could recite moving literary works to astonished audiences right up to a few weeks ago.
Harry repeatedly re-invented his farm from primarily dairy with mixed vegetables in the 1960s, to one of the largest tobacco farms in NS. In 1987, he won the "Grand Champion Maritime Tobacco Competition". In the 1990s, he and his sons operated Harry Morse & Sons Trucking and converted the farm to a strawberry plant nursery and eventually with the help of his nephews, to today’s strawberry U-Pick/mixed vegetable operation that earned him the 2020 Life-Time Achievement award through Horticulture NS.
In 1971, a train collided with Harry’s car, taking one employees’ life, and injuring two others. He survived catastrophic injuries through revolutionary means by teams at the WKM Hospital in Berwick and the VG in Halifax. Then in 1977, he and his family lost their home to a fire. But like his father before him, he "never quit" and always thought "things will get better".
Always community minded, Harry donated fruits and vegetables to many local charities and organizations over the years including Feed Nova Scotia, Berwick & District School breakfast and lunch programs, Berwick Fire Department’s fundraising auctions, a Horton High School grade 12 school trip, and local church strawberry suppers. He was a former member of the Berwick United Church and Volunteer Fire Department.
Harry has been described by others as the Mayor of Somerset, a great man, larger than life, a pillar in the community, a force to be reckoned with, and a gifted farmer, aviator, and legendary man. He had a formidable presence, was warm, generous, kind, intelligent, had a wonderful laugh, and was the best storyteller!
He is survived by his wife of 68 years, Madelyn (Chute); sons, Thomas and Andrew (Wanda) Morse; daughters, Janice (Stan) and Nancy Morse; brother, George Kenneth; grandchildren, Shane (Jill), Jonathan, Joshua, Garrett (Emily), Katelyn (Jeremiah), and Cynthia (Samantha); great-grandchild, Carson Lee Morse. In addition to his parents, he was predeceased by his son, Joseph, in infancy.
Cremation has taken place and there will be no visitation by request. A private family graveside service will be held in Berwick Cemetery, Berwick. A Celebration of Harry’s life will be held on the farm this summer, at a date to be announced. Donations in memory may be made through the VRH Grateful Patient Program at https://www.vrhfoundation.ca/grateful-patient-program/ in thanks to Dr. Broaders and the Medical A Staff. Funeral arrangements have been entrusted to the White Family Funeral Home and Cremation Services, Kentville.