Remembering Perkins Bass

New Hampshire recently lost two significant citizens, one well known and one less so, but both important.Former Congressman Perkins Bass of Peterborough died Oct. 25 at age 99. Bass, himself son of a Republican governor, Robert Bass, was born in 1912 when his father was governor. He had a remarkable career serving New Hampshire in many political offices including as a member of the New Hampshire House starting in 1939, the state Senate as president, and as the 2nd District congressman from 1955 to 1963.Bass ran unsuccessfully for the U.S. Senate in 1962, losing to Democrat Thomas J. McIntyre, after a hard-fought GOP primary that included Congressman Chester Merrill of the First District, and Dolores Bridges, widow of U.S. Sen. Styles Bridges, whose death made that special election necessary.A moderate Republican, Bass was opposed by the Manchester Union Leader, which was partially responsible for his loss of the election to the Senate. Bass was a graduate of Dartmouth College and Harvard Law School and was admitted to the New Hampshire Bar in 1938. Bass was a founding and name partner in Sheehan Phinney Bass + Green, the law firm by which I am employed.Bass was the father of 2nd District Congressman Charles Bass who upholds the tradition of public service and responsible Republicanism.Bass was part of the tradition of moderate Republicans that saw its origin in the Bull Moose Party of Theodore Roosevelt in the 1912 election, when Republicans split into the pro-Taft and pro-Roosevelt factions and then the third-party effort of Roosevelt, which assured the election of Democrat Woodrow Wilson.Perkins Bass’ life was a long, distinguished and successful one.*****Another significant loss was that of Nancy Chase Lyon of New London. She died after a brief battle with cancer, also on Oct. 25.Nancy Lyon was a graduate of the University of New Hampshire along with her husband, Douglas Lyon. She was the daughter of Jere A. Chase and Jane Woodbury Chase, also notable UNH alumni. Jere Chase was executive vice president, acting president and longtime administrator at UNH, and served for a time as president of New England College in Henniker as well.Nancy Lyon was well known in the League of New Hampshire Craftsmen, having been a self-employed fabric artist, weaver and motivating force in organizing the Sunapee Craftsmen Fair.After that career, she took an active role in the establishment of the New England K-9 Search and Rescue Organization and owned several dogs who searched for lost children and adults throughout the wilderness of New Hampshire and New England, often with heroic results.Nancy died prematurely and her loss is significant for her family, her town and the crafts and K-9 rescue communities of New Hampshire. She was an unassuming, down-to-earth, good friend to all who knew her and she will be missed sorely. Her life should be celebrated by all who knew her.*****On a happier note, the New Hampshire Women’s Caucus is hosting a conference on Saturday, Nov. 12, at Colby-Sawyer College entitled, “What Women Want Now.” The New Hampshire Women’s Caucus is a daylong event open to all who want to make their voices heard on behalf of women and draws on the expertise of accomplished leaders who will serve as panelists at the caucus and will moderate discussions.These women leaders include Elizabeth Hager, former Concord mayor and state representative; Carol Folt, provost of Dartmouth College, congressional candidate Ann McLane Kuster; and perhaps as a token male, Jeff Feingold, editor of New Hampshire Business Review! Those who wish to read more about it can go to the event, Sheryl WuDunn, Pulitzer prize-winning journalist and co-author of the New York Times best-selling book, “Half the Sky: Turning Oppression into Opportunity for Women Worldwide,” will deliver the keynote address. Those promoting the day’s efforts note its special significance prior to the New Hampshire primary.*****At its annual dinner on Oct. 26, the Business and Industry Association of New Hampshire gave its Lifetime Achievement Awards to former BIA President John Crosier, a thoughtful analyst of policy issues who knew how to forge bipartisan alliances, and to Judd Gregg, former U.S. senator, governor, congressman and executive councilor, who, like one of his predecessors as Congressman from the 2nd District, the aforementioned Perkins Bass, was the son of a former New Hampshire governor.Both Crosier and Gregg were gracious in their remarks, and those in attendance were reminded of how fast time passes, as many felt it was just recently that Judd Gregg entered politics, and Crosier came to head the BIA.Brad Cook, a shareholder in the Manchester law firm of Sheehan Phinney Bass + Green, heads its government relations and estate planning groups. He also serves as secretary of the Business and Industry Association of New Hampshire.