There was a lot of shock, sadness, and yes, grief here at SourceMedia at the recent passing of Neil Morse. We knew Neil as a gifted mortgage writer, an indefatigable road warrior, a thoroughly professional public relations executive, and finally as a colleague for his work with our conference group. He died way too soon (he was 62). But he had an impressive life.
I remember Neil mostly from his PR work on behalf of industry clients, and more recently from his leading many panels and group conferences at our Mortgage Group conferences. He was one of the best we ever had. His deep knowledge of the mortgage business gave him an instinct for how audience and panelists could interact, and what might be of interest for both of them to discuss. Every one of you who saw Neil lead a group is nodding his or her head right now.
On the public relations side, it is a tribute to Neil’s thoroughness that competitors of his clients called me to complain about all the press their competitors were getting. Get a good PR person, is what I would advise.
Neil wasn’t all about work. He loved baseball, and didn’t see why a meeting with a client of his couldn’t take place on a beautiful spring afternoon at the Yankees’ spring training park in Tampa (an exact but smaller replica of Yankee Stadium). I remember that day with fondness, and as a reminder to use days wisely.
Reading his friend Lew Sichelman’s beautifully composed obituary of Neil on our website Monday, I got a feeling for what a good life Neil had. He married his high school sweetheart and stayed married to her for forty years. They had children they loved and a grandchild they enjoyed. Neil’s sustaining religious faith can be seen from his prominent role in his congregation. And he was a great congregant in the secular religion of baseball as well. One of our correspondents remembered that Neil and he met for lunch once at a restaurant inside a ballpark in Phoenix—even though no game was being played! Mix all those things in with his professional accomplishments, including a journalistic career, and what you come up with is a wonderful balance, a life to savor and not regret when the inevitable time comes.
The last time I saw Neil was with his wife, Sue, whom he shared a long and happy marriage with, at a restaurant in the beautiful seaside city of Newport, R.I. Lew was there as well. The cares of a business day, at yet another mortgage conference, were over, and now it was time to sample the pleasures of the harbor.