August 23, 1909 - March 3, 2017
Margaret Nothiger Morse was born August 25, 2009, in Sweet Home, Oregon to Jacob and Mathilda Nothiger who had both immigrated to Oregon from Switzerland. Margaret joined her two older brothers, Charlie and Herman, making the family complete. Also important to Margaret as she grew up in Sweet Home was her father’s parents and three siblings who had also immigrated to America at the same time and worked homesteads nearby along with their families. Margaret learned Swiss German which was spoken in the home, but soon learned English as well, as she and her brothers attended school. Margaret had fond memories of growing up as part of a loving family on their family farm.
An important decision Margaret made as a girl of nine was when she accepted Christ as her Savior during revival meetings at her church. She also recalled: “I attended camp meeting near Portland at Jennings Lodge Evangelical Campground when I was about 13 and made a complete dedication of my life to Christ. He has always been very special to me since.”
As a girl she learned to love growing things, especially flowers and demonstrated this love throughout her life. Margaret graduated from high school in 1928. Following high school she found work caring for children and doing housework. Two years later she met her future husband, Curtis Morse, when he came to Sweet Home to look for work. Margaret tells the story this way:
“While I was home for the summer of 1930, a young man from a college in Newberg, Oregon, Pacific College, came to Sweet Home looking for work and he got a job working as a flunky in a cook shack where they fed the crew that was building a railroad line to Sweet Home. On Wednesday evening he heard the church bell ringing and decided to investigate, He
came in and sat down at the other end of the bench where my cousin Pearl and I were sitting at prayer meeting. We got acquainted and the next Sunday evening after the service he asked to take me home in his car.
Within three weeks we were engaged to be married, with the definite understanding that Curtis had three more years of college to finish before he was ready to get married.”
Curtis convinced Margaret she should go to college, too, so in 1931 she enrolled as a freshman at Pacific College, later to be renamed George Fox College and now George Fox University. In 1933 after Curtis graduated they were married in Newberg, Oregon.
Following their marriage they went directly to North Idaho as Christian workers with the Friends churches of the Northwest, with the goal of establishing a church in the area of Woodland near Kamiah, Idaho. But the great depression was still in full force and later it was necessary for Curtis to find work in the area, so they moved to nearby Weippe, Idaho. There Curtis worked in a sawmill and built a home for their growing family using rough sawn lumber from the sawmill. Margaret had plenty to keep her busy, caring for the three little boys that joined their family, Sam, Paul and Howard, as well as helping to prepare meals for several of Curtis’ brothers who came to find work in Weippe as well. They also continued to be active in helping to establish Sunday Schools in communities in the area.
When the sawmill work was insufficient because of breakdowns, the family moved to Golden, Idaho, where Curtis and two of his brothers worked as gold miners. They were also active in establishing a Sunday school there. After the ore ran out and the mine shut down, Curtis and Margaret moved to Lewiston, Idaho, just after the birth of their daughter, Barbara. In Lewiston the Lord provided work for Curtis in a sawmill and they were able to purchase land with a building on it which Curtis fixed up as a home. Later Curtis began working as a salesman of Watkins products.
In 1945, with a desire to provide for a Christian education for their children, the family moved to Greenleaf, Idaho, where Curtis continued to work as a Watkins salesman. The whole family were very active in the Friends Church and Academy. The family also enjoyed being close to several families of Curtis’ brothers and a sister. They continued there until all four children completed their schooling at Greenleaf Friends Academy and later, one by one, enrolled at George Fox College.
After the children were in school, Margaret worked at several jobs. Margaret always had a wonderful way of working with children and a next door neighbor, who was a teacher, encouraged her to prepare herself as a teacher, which she did, graduating with a degree in education from the College of Idaho. Her first teaching job was in a one-room school in a small rural community. Later Curtis decided he would like to teach and they found work together in the grade school in nearby Homedale, Idaho.
In 1960, with the desire to live closer to their children, they both took teaching jobs in Central Oregon, then later in schools on the coast in Newport and Waldport, Oregon. When it came time to dispose of their home in Greenleaf, they realized that God had blessed them in many ways and they felt led to donate their home to Greenleaf Friends Academy which had had such a wonderful influence on the lives of their four children.
In 1973, after eight years at the coast when Curtis, and later Margaret, had retired from teaching, they moved to Newberg, Oregon. Retirement gave them the opportunity to raise a big garden and Margaret delighted in the chance to raise flowers. During their retirement they also enjoyed travel around the US. In 1975 they traveled to Hawaii and later took a tour of Europe where Margaret especially delighted in seeing relatives in Switzerland. In 1979 and again a few years later they traveled to Mexico to visit their daughter, Barbara, who worked there as a member of Wycliffe Bible Translators.
Curtis had enjoyed athletics since his days in college, and was an avid fan at any games his children participated in. Now that they were back in Newberg, he and Margaret enjoyed cheering on the George Fox teams and became part of the Bruins Club. Margaret commented: “As God helped us so much financially in later years, we realized we had an obligation to give something back to the college that had done so much for us and our family, so we contributed to the development of the athletic fields. It was quite an honor when they named the athletic fields for our family.”
In 1991 Margaret and her husband sold their home and became part of the Friendsview Retirement Community, living first in a home on Cherry St. across from the main facility. In 1995 they moved to the fourth floor of Friendsview Manor. There Margaret and Curtis enjoyed many friendships and Mararet continued her hobby of raising flowers. In 2002 Curtis passed away at the age of 97, after 69 years of marriage. Margaret continued to be part of the Friendsview Retirement commmunity until her death on March 3, 2017.
Margaret is survived by her children, Sam Morse (Geraldine Perisho), Paul Morse (Meredith), Howard Morse (Monna), and Barbara Morse; eight grandchildren: Elaine (Michael) Butler, Terrill Morse, Doug (Sheri) Morse, Dean (Saga) Morse, Kathy (Jim) Martin, Roger (Jo Anna) Morse, Joseph Morse, Carolyn (Stephen) Judd, Daniel Morse, 24 great-grandchildren and two great-great grandchildren.
Contributions in her memory can be made to Twin Rocks Friends Camp P.O. box 6, Rockaway Beach, OR 97136.