Perkins Bass


Perkins Bass, a former U.S. Congressman from New Hampshire, died peacefully of old age on Oct. 25, 2011 at his home in Peterborough, N.H. He was 99.

The oldest son of Governor Robert P. Bass and Edith B. Bass, he was born on Oct. 6, 1912 in East Walpole. Mr. Bass attended the Arizona Desert School in Tucson, Ariz., and Milton Academy in Milton, 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 Jan. 1938.

From 1942 to 1945, Mr. 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 N.H. State Senate as its president and in the N.H. 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.

Mr. Bass was a summer resident of Chappaquiddick throughout his life.

He is survived by his wife and his five children — Alexander Bass of Peterborough, Katharine B. Cloud of Woods Hole, William J. Bass of Washington, D.C., 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 D.C., 10 grandchildren, and 5 great-grandchildren.

Over the years, Mr. 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 daysMoved earth and heaven, that which we are, we are…”

All are welcome to attend a celebration of his life and luncheon, held at the Monadnock Country club on Saturday, Nov. 19 at 12 noon.

In lieu of flowers, memorials may be made to the Monadnock Area Transitional Shelter (MATS), P.O. Box 3053, Peterborough, NH 03458 or The Salvation Army, c/o James Grant, 10 Sharon Road, Peterborough, NH 03458. Jellison Funeral Home is assisting the family with arrangements.

For directions and an online guestbook, go to