Perkins Bass, a decorated World War II veteran and former New Hampshire Congressman, died Tuesday at the age of 99.
Politics was a family business for Bass, whose father served as governor of New Hampshire and whose son is Rep. Charles Bass (R-N.H.). A Republican, he served in Congress from 1955 to 1962, when he retired after an unsuccessful run for Senate.
While in office, Bass served on the Public Works, Republican Policy and Science and Aeronautics.
Bass’s son currently represents the same Granite State district that his father once served and remembers how his father gained the seat on the Science and Aeronautics Committee.
When voting for Minority Leader, he was asked what he wanted for his vote and simply said, “I want to be on that new space committee.”
The minute he did that all of the corporations and space centers sent him models of space rockets, which Charles Bass remembers playing with in his father’s old Congressional office.
“My father certainly set the table for me as a public servant, he taught me the importance of public service and its meaning to the country and state,” Charles Bass said. “He believed the tolerance of others was critical in guiding our civilization.”
He recalled the great friendships his father made in office on both sides of the party line and the advice that his father offered once he became a Congressman.
“He always had a great outside perspective and this doctrinaire and had great views that were not necessarily Republican views. He didn’t mind taking on Republicans,” Charles Bass said.
Prior to his time in Congress, Perkins Bass served in the military as a Major in Air Combat Intelligence, he received the Bronze Star and the Nationalist Government of China’s Yun Ma Medal for “distinguished and meritorious service.”
He was a founding partner in the Manchester, N.H.-based law firm Sheehan, Phinney, Bass and Green.
Bass is survived by his second wife Rosaly, five children, two stepsons, 10 grandchildren and five great-grandchildren. He passed away in his home in Peterborough, N.H.
“He was the oldest living former Member of Congress and was pretty close to the longest living,” Charles Bass said. “Ninety-nine years is a great run and he died very peacefully.”
Rep. Elijah Cummings, D-Md., right, hugs Harold Schaitberger, General President of the International Association of Fire Fighters, after the Congressman spoke at the IAFF's Legislative Conference General Session at the Hyatt Regency on Capitol Hill, March 9, 2015. The day featured addresses by members of Congress and Vice President Joe Biden.