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Former Congressman Perkins Bass, 99, has died

October 26. 2011 11:51AM

Perkins Bass, 98, last year after casting his vote to help son Charlie regain his seat in the U.S. House by defeating Annie Kuster. (Courtesy)

PETERBOROUGH - Former four-term U.S. Rep. Perkins Bass, 99, the father of U.S. Rep. Charles Bass and the son of former Gov. Robert P. Bass, died Oct. 25, 2011, at his home in Peterborough.

Rep. Charles Bass's office said the elder Bass "died peacefully of old age."

Perkins Bass served in the U.S. House from 1955 to 1963. He ran for the U.S. Senate in a 1962 special election. After defeating interim U.S. Sen. Maurice Murphy, Doloris Bridges and U.S. Rep. Chester Merrow in a Republican primary, he was defeated in the general election by Democrat Thomas McIntyre.

The oldest son of Gov. Robert Bass and Edith B. Bass, Perkins Bass was born on Oct. 6, 1912, in East Walpole, Mass.

He attended the Arizona Desert School in Tucson, Ariz., and Milton Academy in Milton, Mass., where he was recently honored as the only surviving member of his class.

He was a 1934 graduate of Dartmouth College and earned his law degree in 1937 at the Harvard School of Law. He was admitted to the New Hampshire Bar in January 1938.

From 1942 to 1945, Bass served in the 14th Army Air Force in China as a major in Air Combat Intelligence under the command of Gen. Clare Chennault of the Flying Tigers.

He was decorated with the Bronze Star as well as the 'Yun Ma' medal from the Nationalist Government of China.

Bass was a founding partner in the Manchester law firm of Sheehan, Phinney, Bass and Green, practicing there until his election to the U.S. Congress in 1954.

After retirement from politics, Bass continued to practice law in his hometown for many years. Prior to his election to the U.S. House, Bass served in the New Hampshire State Senate as its president and in the New Hampshire House. In later years, he was appointed and then elected selectman in the town of Peterborough.

Bass was married to Katharine Jackson Bass from 1941 to her death in 1972. He subsequently was married for 38 years to Rosaly Swann Bass, often remarking that her presence in his life kept him young, happy, engaged, and vital. They traveled extensively and also worked together on her organic vegetable business.

Perkins Bass is survived by Rosaly and his five children, Alexander Bass of Peterborough; Katharine B. Cloud of Woods Hole, Mass.; William J. Bass of Washington, D.C.; and Charles F. and Posy Bass, both of Peterborough.

He also is survived by his two step-sons, George R. Riley and Matthew B. Riley, both of Washington, D.C.; and 10 grandchildren and five great-grandchildren.

According to a news release from by Rep. Charles Bass's office, over the years, Perkins Bass celebrated many milestones in his life. As he grew older he often quoted a favorite passage from the poem 'Ulysses' by Alfred Lord Tennyson, a quote that personified his view of his place in the world through the passage of time:

"Tho' much is taken, much abides; and tho'

We are not now that strength which in old days

Moved earth and heaven, that which we are, we are"

A memorial celebration and lunch to honor his life will be held at the Monadnock Country Club on Saturday, Nov, 19, 2011, at noon.

For a complete obituary, see Thursday editions of the New Hampshire Union Leader.

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