Stephen Roger Morris, 66, passed away peacefully with his family by his side on June 19, 2020, after a difficult and heroic battle with dementia.
A loving husband to Karen; devoted father to Kasha (Gauthier), Rebekah, and his stepchildren, Ryan and Kaitlin (Adams); Papa to Noah, Josie and Wesley; father-in-law to Kevin, Anthony and Amanda; lifelong friend to a multitude of cousins, sisters, nephews, nieces, friends, colleagues and students.
Although Stephen was taken from us too soon, during his time here on Earth he never wasted a moment. He filled his life with adventure and the simple pleasures of being alive. He was known for his straight-shooting manner, deep enjoyment in gathering with friends with a good cold beer, and quiet time contemplating the world around him. Stephen gave every moment his full attention and presence. Not one to be distracted or distant, his companions would be enveloped by his warmth, booming voice and distinctive, hiccuping laugh.
Stephen had a long and rewarding career at Monadnock Regional High School, where he taught history for 30 years until his retirement in 2014. A true history and Biblical scholar, he read voraciously and sought to understand the lessons of the past. He achieved his master’s degree from Keene State College. He was loved by his students and was always game for a lively political debate or a chance to goof around with them in his youthful manner. He coached basketball and football, and served as the coach for the Junior National Honor Society and Model Congress for many years.
He was always planning his next adventure and project, and when summer vacation arrived, he would tend to his massive gardens, each year trying out a new vegetable or rose variety. He built decks, roofs and all manner of projects for friends and his church community. He frequently could be found performing acts of service in keeping with his deep belief in the tenants of the Christian faith.
He and Karen traveled to Italy and France with friends, each time returning to regale everyone with photos of the piazzas and cathedrals, and to wax poetic about the wine and food. Even weekends were filled with adventure, kayaking with Karen on the lakes of New England, or fishing his favorite spots on Cape Cod, rivers and streams with friends and his cousin, Steve Willig. He loved to hop in his truck and visit his daughter and extended family in New York, or attend his grandchildren’s ball games in the Boston area. He would drive great distances to see one of his favorite blues or rock musicians live, and there was never a concert or party that wouldn’t find him dancing and singing along to his favorite tunes.
Born in Glen Cove, N.Y., in 1954, he moved to the Berkshires in 1965, where he lived on a dairy farm with his mother, Cecilia, stepfather, Arthur Armstrong, and sister, Cindy (Plantz). While in the Berkshires, he developed his love of nature, alongside his beloved cousin, Cathy Jo (Willig) and her family. His sisters, Karen (Pascucci) and Susan, were constants at his side, whether in the Berkshires or visiting his father and stepmother, Roger and Nell, in New York. While there, he also became close with his three step-siblings: Peter Brown, Janet Brackett and Lynn York.
He moved to the West Coast in 1977, where he earned his bachelor’s degree at the University of Oregon — Eugene. While there he met his first wife, Molly Martin, with whom he raised his two daughters. He moved back east in 1981, and eventually settled in New Hampshire, where he began his teaching career. He married the love of his life, Karen, in July of 1998, after which they spent 22 joy-filled years together making a beautiful home, hosting an endless stream of loved ones, walking their dogs in the woods behind their house, and dancing together in the kitchen. He will be dearly missed by all who loved him.
A memorial service will be held at a future date. In lieu of flowers at this time, donations can be made to The Association for Frontotemporal Degeneration (theaftd.org).