Edwin Bateman Morris III, a commercial real estate banker and yachtsman, passed away peacefully at home with a view of Marblehead Harbor after a two-and-a-half-year battle with cancer.
He was born in Washington D.C., the son of Edwin Bateman Morris Jr. and Helen Chandler Morris. His grandparents, Edwin Bateman Morris and Faith Morris, raised their children and grandchildren on a family compound bought and designed by Ed’s grandfather on Grosvenor Lane in Bethesda, Maryland.
The Morrises and their descendants were Quakers, with lineage going back centuries to the founding of Sandy Springs, Maryland. Generations grew up with wonderful traditions linked to Whitchurch, England, as far back as the 1600s.
He graduated from Walter Johnson High School and followed his father and grandfather to the University of Pennsylvania, graduating in 1963 after serving with the U.S. Marine Corps Reserves.
After graduation from college, he drove to Boston in his cherished Studebaker Golden Hawk and started his career with the First National Bank of Boston in 1963. He earned his graduate degree from the Wharton School.
Ed was the youngest senior vice president in the history of the Bank of Boston when he assumed leadership of the real estate division in 1973 at the age of 32. He was a governor of the Mortgage Bankers Association of America, a member of the Metropolitan Area Planning Council for Greater Boston, and board member of the Friends of Post Office Square, which built the underground parking garage and park in Boston’s Post Office Square.
Of the many projects he financed while at the bank, one of his favorites was Quincy Market, which originally opened Aug. 26, 1826, and reopened Aug. 26, 1976.
He was a valued resource for many of the region’s largest real estate owners and developers who turned to him for guidance and strategic thinking in their business.
Following his departure from the bank in 1989, he and his friend and associate, Gar Morse, formed Morris & Morse, a real estate consulting practice.
He was a trustee of the University of Pennsylvania and of Radcliffe College.
Ed married Susie Cookman in 1968. They started their lives together on the waterfront in Marblehead, where they lived for 54 years. They had four boats in all: Equity I (a 22-foot Sailmaster), Equity II (a 40-foot Nauticat Ketch), Equity III (a Saberliner 36 Fast Trawler) and Puddle Duck, a one-lunger diesel fantail launch that was well-known in Marblehead Harbor.
As members of the Eastern Yacht Club (Member No. 22 in 2022), they cruised much of the Massachusetts, New Hampshire and Maine coasts.
Ed was gifted and brilliant. He could calculate the return on a proposed investment in his head before eager young MBAs could come up with the answer on their financial calculators. He possessed a playful sense of humor, a keen sense of fairness, and a knack for judging character.
He loved his nieces, Maggie and Suzanne Cookman. He would take the family to the Algonquin Club or Rowes Wharf Hotel for Thanksgiving dinner. There he taught the nieces how to hang a spoon from their noses. On Christmas Eve, he would wear a Santa hat while he read “The Night Before Christmas” to them at bedtime.
He was just as playful with his grandnephews and niece, and delighted them with his antics at Christmas, Thanksgiving and visits in Marblehead.
He is survived by his sister, Mary Helen Morris; first cousins, Katherine Dorman, Kimberly Mills and James Mills; brother-in-law, George Eustis Cookman (Sally); sister-in-law, Ellen Morris; nieces, Margaret Cookman Schaffer (Ben) and Suzanne Cookman Roberge (David); grandnephews, Liam George Roberge and August Morris Schaffer; and grandniece, Audrey Grace Roberge.
His wife, Susan Cookman Morris, predeceased him by 31 days on Sept. 20, 2022. His brother, William Heppell Morris, predeceased him in 2021.
Burial at Waterside Cemetery in Marblehead will be private. A celebration of life will be held in 2023. Memorial donations may be made to the charity of one’s choice in Ed’s name. Fond memories and expressions of sympathy for the Morris and Cookman family may be shared at the funeral home website.