Lebanon, N.H. — Winifred White Morrissey, a resident of Harvest Hill in Lebanon, died peacefully in her sleep on Friday, April 14, 2017, at the age of 94, after a life well and fully lived.
She survived her husband of 63 years, Leonard E. Morrissey, Jr., who died in November, 2009. Len was a Professor at the Tuck School at Dartmouth for over 30 years. Winnie and Len lived and raised their five sons in Hanover, before moving to Harvest Hill in 2008.
Winnie was born on Aug. 9, 1922, in a village just outside East Aurora, N.Y., the daughter of Grover and Evelyn (Arndt) White. For much of her childhood, she was raised on a farm. She graduated from the University of Rochester in 1944, after having worked her way through college. She then attended the Merrill Palmer Institute in Detroit for a year, where she studied early childhood development.
Winnie had met Len at the U. of R, and they married in 1946 and then moved to Hanover. They celebrated their honeymoon by climbing Mt. Washington, the start of a lifetime of hiking in the mountains of New Hampshire and Switzerland.
They climbed most of the mountains over 4,000 feet in N.H. They also lived in Lausanne, Switzerland for a year at a time on several occasions when Len taught at IMEDE (now IMD) while on sabbaticals from Tuck, and they visited Switzerland for vacations in other years. While in Switzerland, they raised the level of their hiking activity a few notches. On occasion, they would map out detailed and lengthy treks, lasting days and sometimes weeks, that included not just their targeted Swiss mountains, but all the trails, trains, hostels, tiny hotels, guest houses, gondolas and funiculars in between – and then hit the trail, usually just the two of them. They pursued their hiking activity in Switzerland into their 60’s, and on the slopes of N.H. into their 70’s, including a hike up Mount Cardigan on Winnie’s 78th birthday in 2000.
Winnie was a devoted wife and mother. She was also a constant reader, a crossword puzzle enthusiast, an up-to-date follower of local, national and world news, a gardener, a great cook (especially pastries and the fondue she learned to make in Switzerland), and an avid fan of the New England Patriots. She stayed up late to see the Patriots’ stunning come from behind win the in Super Bowl just a few months ago, confident that eventually her team would prevail.
Winnie was a supporter of a wide array of conservation groups and Upper Valley non-profits and cultural organizations, including the Howe Library, where she and Len provided the initial funding for Summer Sundays at the Library.
She is survived by five sons, James of New York City, Thomas of Lyme, N.H., Peter of Farmington, Conn., William of Springfield, Vt., and Michael of Seattle; five grandchildren, James, Zachary (Ellison), and Katherine, all of the Boston area, Geoffrey of New York City, and Patrick of Farmington, Conn.; two step-grandchildren, George Crouse of Colfax, N.C., and Julie Daniels of East Greenbush, N.Y.; and three step-great-grandchildren. Winnie is also survived by her brother, Malcolm White of Ashford, Conn.; and two younger sisters, Sally Reed of Shirley, Mass., and Nancy Tillapaugh of Marietta, Ga. Winnie’s sister Jeanne Kitson of Wayland, N.Y., predeceased her.
A celebration of Winnie’s life will be held at 2:30 on Saturday, April 29 in the Dwinell Room at Harvest Hill, 23 Alice Peck Day Drive in Lebanon. Memorial contributions may be made in Winnie’s name to the Howe Library, 13 South Street, Hanover, NH 03755.
Arrangements are under the direction of the Rand-Wilson Funeral Home in Hanover.