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Kendall Morse, a acclaimed Maine humorist, folk accompanist and Grammy-nominated musician, died Wednesday. He was 86.
Morse, who best afresh lived in Scarborough, spent added than 40 years assuming about the country and recording his songs and stories. In 1995, he was inducted into the Maine Country Music Hall of Fame. In 2009, he accustomed a Grammy choice for his role as co-producer of the folk anthology “Singing Through the Hard Times: A Tribute to Utah Phillips.”
“He was a fable to the world, but he was consistently my dad,” said Elaine Hodnette, the oldest of his three daughters.
Morse grew up in Machias, one of nine children. He was a 1952 alum of Machias High School. From 1953 to 1957, he served in the Coast Guard on a barge based in Portland.
Following his discharge, Morse abutting the then-Maine Department of Sea and Shore, now the Department of Marine Resources. He rose through the ranks to captain a convoying baiter that adequate Penobscot Bay. He captivated the column until the aboriginal to mid-1960s.
Morse again formed for the U.S. Department of Fish & Wildlife’s National Marine Fisheries Service. According to his obituary, he was amenable for administration of all-embracing fishing regulations and the Marine Mammals Protection Act. He retired in 1974 because of a aback injury, his babe said.
Hodnette said her ancestor knew at age 6 that he capital to be a attention officer. “He was a conservationist. He was a sailor. He had a abundant adulation for the sea,” she said.
In the mid-1960s, Morse had adventitious affair on the beach with folk accompanist and songwriter Gordon Bok, who encouraged him to accompany a career in music. Back Morse retired, he took up storytelling and specialized in Maine humor.
His affection for music began at age 16, back he accustomed a secondhand guitar for Christmas. He able himself how to comedy and boring congenital a accumulating of belief and songs. He occasionally played gigs about town.
In his aboriginal years, he played bluegrass with his brothers, who sang and played the guitar, Hodnette said.
“When I was a kid, this was such an amazing way to abound up,” she said. “We would get calm at my Nana’s affected every Saturday night and the boys would agreeable and holler. They would comedy into the aphotic hours of the night. … Oh, my God, it was a august way to abound up. Music was the aspect of our family.”
Morse began cogent belief in the aboriginal 1970s and hosted a appearance on Maine Public Television alleged “In the Kitchen.” He wrote a book by the aforementioned name.
He additionally appear a few albums, including “Seagulls and Summer People” and “Lights Along the Shore.” He performed in venues beyond the country and aggregate the date with adept storytellers such as Tim Sample and Marshall Dodge, and musicians including Bok and the backward Utah Phillips.
Morse was a three-time almsman of the Folk Accompanist of the Year accolade by the Maine Country Music Association.
Hodnette said he was a abundant speaker, who fed on the activity from the crowd.
“He admired cogent stories,” she said. “Dad was so abundantly well-known. He’s activity to leave a massive aperture in the universe.”
Morse fought a yearslong action with throat blight that included at atomic nine operations to abolish articulate bond tumors back 2004. The blight took abroad his adeptness to sing, admitting it didn’t stop him from accepting on stage. His articulation was bargain to a blatant whisper.
“It was extraordinary,” Hodnette said. “On occasion, he still begin himself on stage. He couldn’t sing, but he could speak. And bodies forgave him for that and were still absorption by him.”
Morse authored three books. The second, “Father Fell Down the Well,” is a accumulating of acceptable Down East belief from his years performing. He afresh able autograph the third, “True Enough,” which will be appear posthumously.
His babe Rebecca Morse said her ancestor able a lot in his life.
“In his after years, he affectionate of became this bear old grump, but accustomed the befalling to accomplish or accomplish addition laugh, it was like flipping a ablaze switch,” she said. “He became this persona, and he went out of his way to accomplish somebody beam every day. It was absolutely acceptable to him to be able to do that.”
Morse was remembered his daughters Thursday as a austere but admiring ancestor who was consistently there for them. Another daughter, Deb Roberts, said he was a admirable ancestor and they talked about everything.
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