Christopher Robert Morse
September 12, 1973 – July 19, 2018
Christopher Robert Morse of Bloomfield Hills passed away on July 19, 2018 of complications due to pancreatic cancer.
Christopher was born on September 12, 1973 in Falls Church, Virginia to John Von Maur (Von) and Elizabeth Ann (Mock) Morse. He graduated in 1992 from Parkway Central High School in St. Louis County, Missouri, then from Drury College in Springfield, Missouri in 1996 with a BA in Biology. While in college he discovered his love for stage acting and the martial arts - both skills would serve him well in later years.
Following his father’s example, he joined the U.S. Navy in 1997 and was commissioned through Officer Candidate School. He deployed twice to the Middle East (Operation Iraqi Freedom). At sea he was actively involved in naval coastal warfare, protecting high value assets transiting the Persian Gulf. Then he performed anti-terrorism work, identifying potential security gaps for our interests on land.
In 2003 Christopher transitioned to the Naval Reserves, taking a break from active duty to try his luck as an actor in Hollywood. He had some fun run-ins with celebrities and nearly missed being chosen for the second season of “The Apprentice”. It wasn’t too long before he transitioned from actor to stock broker, partly following another set of his father’s footsteps but also, in his words, “because I needed to eat”. He quickly rose to manage an Edward Jones office in the greater Los Angeles area.
Mentoring an ROTC club reignited his love of military life, so in 2006 he welcomed his recall to active duty. He deployed a third time to the Middle East continuing anti-terrorism work. Upon his return the Lieutenant Commander took up the Executive Officer position at the St. Louis Naval Operation Support Center to be near his ailing father. While there he met, and later married, Dr. Jennifer Leigh Umphress. The Navy was downsizing in 2009, so Christopher changed services to become a Major in the Army Military Intelligence Corps. While in the Army he deployed with I Corps as part of the joint NATO forces in Afghanistan (ISAF, Operation Enduring Freedom). He served as Chief of Staff in Kandahar, then was the Joint Intelligence Staff Officer in Kabul. In 2013, Christopher was assigned to Third Army/ U.S. Army Central Command as Intelligence Planner and rose to Intelligence Plans Chief. Chris played a vital role in the creation of the Combined Joint Task Force for Operation Inherent Resolve (the US-led international coalition fighting ISIS).
Christopher retired from the Army to the Morse family home in Bloomfield Township, Michigan in 2015. He ran for the U.S. Congress in 2016, earning the Republican nomination for Michigan’s Ninth District seat. As a first-time candidate pitted against an entrenched incumbent, he surprised everyone with a grass-roots campaign that won an impressive 37% of the vote.
Christopher was a member of Christ Church Cranbrook in Bloomfield Hills, Michigan. He is survived by his wife Jennifer, mother Elizabeth Geers, brother John Von Maur Morse , Jr., and sister Stacy Elizabeth Morse.
A funeral service was held on Wednesday July 25th at Christ Church Cranbrook. Interment will be at Arlington National Cemetery at a later date.
In lieu of flowers please send donations to St. Jude’s Children’s Research Hospital, Fisher House, or the Ronald McDonald house.
- Dr. Jennifer Leigh (nee Umphress), Wife
- John Von Maur Morse, Father
- Elizabeth Geers, Mother
- John Von Maur Morse Jr., Brother
- Stacy Elizabeth Morse, Sister
Military Honors and Interment
Arlington National Cemetery
- Instate Wednesday, July 25, 2018
- Funeral Service Wednesday, July 25, 2018
Christopher Robert Morse
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Mary Jo Kohunsky
September 6, 2018
It was a pleasure to see Chris in the front row of the Honors Physical Science class I taught in Chesterfield. He was always prepared, and sought clarification of difficult concepts whenever he had questions. He had high expectations for himself, and strove to meet them every day, often surprising himself with his successes. Always respectful and disciplined, he did not surprise me with his accomplishments in his eventual military career.
Jen, we mourn for your loss. May memories of good times with Chris be a comfort to you, and bring bring you a smile in difficult times.
Mary Jo Kohunsky
August 6, 2018
Chris was my first best friend. It was an honor to know him and see the personal traits that I have recently read about develop in him through our formative years. Chris was fascinated with the military from a very early age, I am happy he made it a successful part of his life. He was a unique and impressive individual, a tremendous quality person and friend. I appreciate his forgiving quality. What a loss to family, friends, and country. May God comfort the Morse families during this difficult time.
August 1, 2018
Chris and I met in college, at an A&P class and were partnered while dissecting a cat. I insisted on performing the first cuts and soon, the formaldehyde got to me. I passed out, taking an impressive fall, headfirst, to the floor. Chris drove me to the hospital, making sure I was steady on the icy walk, opening the car door, then watched helplessly as I bonked the other side of my head into the roof. Thus began our decades long friendship of him advising, me doing things my way, and him rolling his eyes. Chris was always guided by doing what he believed to be right and honorable, even if it meant that he had to make personal sacrifices. On our last visit, he tried his best to leave knowledge as tools that would lead to long-term positive results in my life. Rest easy, soldier.
Mario and Diana Reyna
July 26, 2018
Oct. 17 , 2013 or 14 Chris was celebrating but when he found out it was my special day too, he made sure that there was a celebratory candle for me too. His kindness and acceptance of all were genuine gifts to us in 3rd ARMY family.
Morse family and Jennifer we send our heart felt love as you go through this season, but not alone. You Heavenly Father will embrace you and provide for your needs. Thinking of you and remembering our G2 gals and ARCENT memories. With deepest sympathy.