Charles Philip Morton II died peacefully on Feb 25, 2022 at his home in North Truro with his fiancée, Annie (Jordan) Appling, by his side. The cause of death was leukemia. He was 74.
The son of the late Charles and Mary (Scribner) Morton, Phil was born on May 28, 1947, in Norwalk, Conn. He grew up in New Canaan, Conn. Following the family’s Irish tradition, all the Morton children were called by their middle names.
When Phil was a teenager, his brother Paul said, “He had a sixth sense for things mechanical and electrical.” He especially loved radio. Paul recalled how in the early 1960s Phil would take him to a community radio station in Mt. Kisco, N.Y. where, unsupervised, Phil would broadcast popular music from Elvis to the Beatles to a small audience of local kids.
Phil graduated from New Canaan High School in 1965. He graduated from Norwalk Community College with a degree in business.
Phil’s father, Charles, was the tax collector in New Canaan, and he later became first selectman. Phil followed his father’s example of community service by joining the New Canaan Police Dept. During his 27 years of service, he was known as “a good cop, a fair cop,” said Paul. “He certainly was not heavy-handed,” he added. Phil retired in 1995.
In retirement, Phil began to move from living full-time in Connecticut to living on Cape Cod, his lifelong dream. Beginning when he was 10 weeks old, he spent the first two weeks of every August at Days Cottages in North Truro. His parents had vacationed there since 1946, always staying in Cottage Number 22, “Primrose.” Phil carried on that tradition and became a mainstay of the cottage community.
Christopher Cardinal wrote on the Days Cottages Facebook page that “I knew Phil since I was five, fished with him since I was a boy in his boat, knew him when he was a cop in CT. He was the sweetest man I ever met.” Danielle Lippert added that Phil “was one of the things still making Days Cottages feel like ‘the old days.’ ” Stephanie Pfeiffer fondly recalled how Phil would “go out of his way to greet my kids when they were little.”
The Days Cottages website posted a remembrance that emphasized how “we will miss the amazing things Phil did for all of us, but we will miss the person he was the most.”
Phil’s kindness was augmented by his many talents, including photography (he developed his own pictures in a makeshift darkroom) and cooking. “He was an incredible cook,” Paul declared. In addition to a delicious kale soup and an array of Italian dishes, “his sausage and peppers were a knockout,” said Paul.
Phil was also a devoted Mason for many years. He rose through the ranks and held many leadership positions in Masonic lodges in New Canaan, Provincetown, and Wellfleet. “He was a giver, not a taker,” Paul said, “the first person most people would call in a time of need.”
Phil also loved to travel. Because his maternal grandparents came from Portumna, County Galway, Ireland, Phil traveled there to drink in the pub with the locals who still recalled his family members. With his brothers Paul and Peter, he went to Australia for his niece’s christening and seized the opportunity to travel the continent. He later accompanied a Provincetown friend on a trip to Portugal.
Through the way he lived, his brothers wrote, “He taught us all how to enjoy life, what it means to be generous, how to live a life of service, and the true meaning of friendship and brotherhood.”
Phil is survived by his fiancée, Annie Appling of North Truro; brother Paul and sister-in-law Jill of Norwalk; brother Peter Morton of Conover, N.C.; nieces Kirstin of Kingsport, Tenn., Sydney of Norwalk, and Kayla of Goose Creek, S.C.; and nephew Aidan of Conover, N.C.
A celebration of Phil’s life and Masonic Service will be held at 11 a.m. on Saturday, March 12 at King Hiram’s Lodge, 2 Masonic Pl., Provincetown. Interment will be private.
In lieu of flowers, memorial donations in Charles Morton’s name may be made to the Visiting Nurse Association of Cape Cod Hospice, 255 Independence Dr., Hyannis 02601; to Outer Cape Health Services, 49 Harry Kemp Way, Provincetown 02657; or to the Shriners Hospital for Children, 51 Blossom St., Boston 02114.
To leave a message of condolence for the family, visit gatelyfuneralservice.com.