Celebrating the life of Edelgard B. Morse
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She was born on September 18, 1927 in Pforzheim, Germany and grew up during World War II, traveling between her family's homes in Pforzheim and Lake Constance to avoid the ravages of war. She attended the University of Cologne, where she received her Ph.D. in 1955. There, she met Ted Morse, who was also a graduate student, and six months later they were married in Gummersbach.
Soon after moving to the U.S. with Ted, Edelgard accepted a post-doctoral position at Wesleyan University, later led the Chemistry department at the University of Connecticut (Hartford) and then became an assistant professor at Northwestern University. After many years of volunteering in Providence Public Schools, and being a docent at RISD, she became a senior lecturer in Chemistry and led the Chem 3T program at Brown University from 1977 to 2005. This self-paced program was born out of the campus protests of the mid-70’s, and the occupation of University Hall, and was specifically designed to support students of diverse backgrounds.
Edelgard valued her students and colleagues immensely and she was tremendously proud of those who went on to succeed in the sciences. Edelgard and Ted were also Faculty Fellows at Brown for twenty years, welcoming students to their home each week.
Edelgard was a voracious reader and loved to cook, swim, play tennis, and go to the opera at The Met. She particularly enjoyed yearly travel throughout Europe to see friends and family, go skiing or hiking, and visit museums. Backpacking through many of the National Parks of the West with her husband, children and dachshunds gave her great pleasure. She had a deep appreciation of the natural world as scientist and humanist.
Edelgard was accomplished yet humble, and forever practical. Her kindness, perspicacity and patience brought her many friends throughout her 94 years.
Edelgard is survived by her husband of 67 years, Prof. Ted Morse, her children Karin Morse (Laurent Tremblay), her son Peter Morse (Kathleen Van Gorden) and grandchildren Jasper and Vivian Morse.
Her family is tremendously grateful to her physician, Dr. Jennifer Maude, and her incredible team of caregivers, including Annette Rodriguez, Ashley Tantao, and Naja Castro who made her final year far more comfortable and enjoyable. Based on Covid-19 restrictions being lifted, and travel from Europe being possible, a gathering is planned for Spring 2022 in Little Compton.
One of her students, Ainissa Ramirez recently wrote in her book “while many chemistry professors might pride themselves on the numbers of papers published, citations and titles, she achieved something more. There are armies of physicians, engineers, and scientists - like me – that are now in the world because of her… she left a mark on her students like no one else”.
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