US Rep Bass - Obituary for Former Congressman Perkins Bass

PETERBOROUGH, NH – The Office of Congressman Charles F. Bass (NH-02) shared the following obituary for former Congressman Perkins Bass today:

Former New Hampshire Congressman Perkins Bass, 99, died peacefully of old age on October 25, 2011, at his home in Peterborough, NH.

The oldest son of Governor Robert P. Bass and Edith B. Bass, he was born on October 6, 1912 in East Walpole, MA.  Mr. Bass attended the Arizona Desert School in Tucson, AZ, and Milton Academy in Milton, MA, where he was recently honored as the only surviving member of his class.  He attended Dartmouth College, graduating in 1934, and Harvard School of Law, where he earned his law degree in 1937.  He was admitted to the New Hampshire Bar in January 1938.

From 1942 to 1945, Bass served his country in the 14th Army Air Force in China as a Major in Air Combat Intelligence under the command of General 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.

He 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 his retirement from politics, he continued to practice law in his hometown for many years.  Prior to his election to Congress, Bass served in the New Hampshire State Senate as its president and in the New Hampshire General Court.  He ran unsuccessfully for the U.S. Senate in 1962.  In later years, he was appointed and then elected selectman in the town of Peterborough.

Mr. 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. 

He is survived by Rosaly and his five children, Alexander Bass of Peterborough; Katharine B. Cloud of Woods Hole, MA; William J. Bass of Washington, DC; and Charles F. Bass and Posy Bass, both of Peterborough.  He is also survived by his two step-sons, George R. Riley and Matthew B. Riley, both of Washington, DC; and 10 grandchildren and five great-grandchildren.

Over the years, 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, November 19, 2011 at noon.


Summary of Perkins Bass’ Biography

Born:  East Walpole, MA, 1912

Parents:  Robert P. Bass, Governor of New Hampshire, 1911-1913 and Edith Bird Bass


Concord and Peterborough, NH public schools

Dartmouth College, A.B., 1934

Bermuda race + William Beebe – deep sea diving – summers of 1930 and 1934

Harvard Law School, LL.B., 1938


Professional Career: 

Admitted to New Hampshire Bar, 1938

Practicing attorney in New Hampshire (except while Member of Congress from 1955 – 1963)

Former partner of Sheehan, Phinney, Bass & Green P.A. in Manchester


Family: Wife, Katharine Jackson Bass (deceased)

              Children: Alexander, Katharine, William J., Charles F., Posy

              Remarried September 30, 1973 to Rosaly S. Riley


Military Service:

            United States 14th Army Air Force in China, 1942-45.

Major in Air Combat Intelligence under command of General Claire Chennault of Flying Tigers.

Longest living member of the Peterborough Post of the American Legion and the Amoskeag Veterans


Decorations: U.S. Bronze Star; Nationalist Government of China Yun Ma Medal for “Distinguished and Meritorious Service”; Honorary Degree, New England College


Public Offices:

Representative to New Hampshire General Court – 4 terms; Chairman, Ways and Means Committee, 1953

            President of New Hampshire Senate, 1949-1951

Member of U.S. House of Representatives for New Hampshire’s Second District, 1954-1963; Committees: Public Works; Science and Aeronautics; Committee on Republican Policy

            Republican National Committeeman from New Hampshire, 1964-68

            Selectman of Peterborough, 1972-75

            Member, National Advisory Committee on Oceans and Atmosphere, 1973-76

            Elected delegate to 1976 Republican Convention, pledged to Ford


Business Affiliations

            Director, Bird & Son, Inc., East Walpole, MA, 1946-84

            Trustee, New Hampshire Savings Bank, Concord, NH, 1950-1980

            Trustee, Franklin Pierce College, Rindge, NH, 1972-1987

            Trustee, Monadnock Community Hospital, 1948-1954