New Hampshire loses two giants
Maxine Morse and Harold Janeway set examples that many others should follow
It is not hyperbole to say that New Hampshire lost two giants among our citizens in August.
Maxine K. Morse of Portsmouth, formally of Manchester and Laconia (and a magnificent property on the shore of Lake Winnipesaukee), passed away on Aug. 23 at age 96. Raised in New Hampshire, she attended local schools and then Cornell University, a lifelong love of hers. Maxine Morse was a force with whom to be reckoned as she inspired her children and grandchildren, friends and colleagues to do better than they thought they could do.
She contributed greatly to New Hampshire, dedicating much of her life to serving others, especially in the areas of health, mental health, child care and women’s rights. She was the founding director of the Greater Manchester Childcare Association, the first federally funded day care center in New Hampshire and chaired the New Hampshire Commission on Laws Affecting Mental Health in 1975. Legislation came from that effort that extended mental health insurance and the understanding of those with mental illness.
Along with her late husband, attorney Richard A. Morse, chair of the University System Board of Trustees for many years, Maxine had a love for and was an active supporter of the University of New Hampshire and its sports teams, often being seen at football and hockey games.
When Maxine Morse asked somebody to be on a board or undertake a cause, it was virtually impossible to say no, and she urged many to do good in New Hampshire, and they obeyed.
Active well into her 90s, Maxine Morse was giving advice to many boards and taking an interest in others right up until the end.
Friends remembered that Maxine Morse could be asked about any person in the state and inevitably would say, “Oh, I was speaking with so-and-so last week. This is how to get in touch with him/her.”
A moderate Republican active in the days of Walter Peterson, she also supported other notable politicians such as John Lynch, seeking quality rather than party in her devotion.
Everyone who knew Maxine Morse knows what a loss it is to New Hampshire and to them personally that she is gone.
Harold Janeway, another notable citizen, also died in August. In fact, his obituary — which can be Googled — is one of the masterpieces of literary art as well as recounting a meaningful life.
Janeway, born in New York, was educated at Yale, was an active mountain climber and explorer, went into the securities business in New York City and when his firm was sold to a larger enterprise, found a farm in Webster, moved his family there and started a new career in this state.
He founded White Mountain Investment Company in Concord, and helped many clients with his long view of how to invest responsibility and intelligently.
When he retired from the investment business in 2006, Harold went into politics, having been active as his town moderator for many years. He was elected to the New Hampshire Senate for two terms. While there, he forged friendships with members on both sides of the aisle because of his quiet and unassuming ways.
He also took positions which often were in the minority but, in the long run, proved to be predictors of the future. He did not take “the pledge” against taxes, opposed casino gambling, sponsored consumer legislation and was the only senator opposed to the Bow coal-burning power plant scrubber. He and his wife supported the civil unions bill, and later he was proud of the fact that New Hampshire enacted a gay marriage law by legislative action and not court decree.
This writer met Harold while lobbying on the other side of issues he supported, and we became fast friends, a sign of his openness and ability to look beyond differences.
A quiet, funny, unassuming man, Harold Janeway contributed greatly to his community, his state and to all who knew him. He and his wife, Betsy, continued to farm their property in Webster into their 80s.
According to his obituary, when he was sworn in to the New Hampshire Senate, the chaplain advised him, “Be sure when you talk, you are improving on silence.” That, the obituary says, was a rule of his nature.
The loss of Maxine Morse and Harold Janeway has taken two shining stars out of New Hampshire’s sky, but we were so lucky they were here. We might compare their example to what we face today in some of our public servants.
Brad Cook is a Manchester attorney. The views expressed in this column are his own. He can be reached at email@example.com.