John Tucker "Tuck" MorseCharleston, SC, 1944 - 2020
John Tucker "Tuck" Morse, 75, of Charleston, S.C., died on Thursday, July 30, 2020 in Little Rock, Ark., after a lengthy battle with Parkinson's Disease. He was born August 2, 1944, in Little Rock, Ark., to the late Byron Rhodes Morse and Josephine Tucker Morse. After attending The Hill School in Pottstown, Pa., and graduating with a bachelor of arts from Washington & Lee University in 1967, he obtained his juris doctorate from the Hastings College of Law at the University of California in 1970.
Morse is survived by his wife, Catherine Braden Morse; his son, Richard Braden Morse (Jessica); daughter, Catherine Morse Leatherman (Hugh); and his sister, Melinda Morse Laurens (Chip). His family legacy will be carried on by his beloved grandchildren, Annabel Braden Morse, James Woodward Morse, Hugh Kenneth Leatherman IV, and Tucker Rhodes Leatherman.
Morse began his extraordinary business career in 1971 as one of the original ten employees of Federal Express Corporation in Little Rock. During his leadership as its first general counsel, he secured an unprecedented amount of venture capital that enabled the company to build a new global headquarters in Memphis, successfully lobbied for the deregulation of the airline industry and played a lead role in its initial public offering. He retired from Federal Express as senior vice president for legal and regulatory affairs in 1981 to move back to his hometown of Little Rock. There, he focused his efforts on revitalizing the city he so loved through a mix of real estate development and philanthropy.
His entrepreneurial drive continually motivated him to privately invest in real estate ventures, mutual funds, agriculture, airlines, technology and restaurants in Little Rock and Charleston, where he moved his family in 1994. His investments in South Carolina landmarks such as The Francis Marion Hotel, The Poinsett Hotel and The Cigar Factory as well as Kiawah Island Resort were of particular importance to his desire of making historic and beautiful places even better. His expertise was constantly sought, and he served on boards of various organizations, most notably Wells Fargo, GX Clarke, Saks Fifth Avenue, Porter-Gaud School, the College of Charleston and the Medical University of South Carolina, where he established a fellowship advocating for the research of neurological diseases.
In addition to his impressive business acumen, he was a man of many recreational and artistic pursuits. He was an avid golfer, a licensed pilot and aviation enthusiast, and drove his vintage sports car collection throughout the world. He and his wife of 42 years, Cathy, loved traveling together to collect antiques, oriental rugs, and artwork of many different genres. Also an intercollegiate sports fanatic, he was a lifetime supporter of the Arkansas Razorbacks and a booster for the University of Arkansas at Little Rock Trojans and the College of Charleston Cougars.
Most importantly, he cherished his time with family. Despite his many infirmities from a 21-year battle with Parkinson's Disease, he never missed a chance to spend time with his children or grandchildren. Many of his happiest memories were while boating on Lake Michigan with his family, where he enjoyed spending time in the summer. He refused to turn down a social invitation of any kind. He could often be found playing disc jockey for his friends and family, and towards the end, he was usually better at dancing than walking. His dry wit and unrivaled sense of humor endeared him to all who knew him. He was a man of principle and a loyal friend and partner to so many people across all walks of life.
The family would like to thank all who assisted with his caretaking over the years in Charleston, Michigan, and Little Rock. Memorial services will be announced at a later date. In the meantime, memorial gifts may be sent to The Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson's Research, P.O. Box 5014, Hagerstown, Md. 21741-5014. Please sign the online guestbook a www.ruebelfuneralhome.com.
Published August 5, 2020
OBITUARY SUBMITTED BY:
Ruebel Funeral Home
6313 West Markham Street, Little Rock