Michael Ian Donald Morrison


Claim this Obituary
Topsham and Castine - Michael Ian Donald Morrison, 89, died peacefully at home with his family by his side on August 4, 2019. In the five weeks since his diagnosis with inoperable brain cancer, he met the rapidly changing challenges of the disease with courage, grace, humor and dignity, right to the end. His children continued to learn from, and be inspired by, their father as they cared for him in his home until his death.
Michael was born in Floriana, Malta on December 22, 1929, the son of of Lieutenant-Commander (later Captain) Donald Carter Morrison, Royal Navy and Mabel Margaret (nee Campbell) Morrison. He was educated in England and Canada, where he and his sister were evacuated during the Second World War, returning to England in 1945 to complete his education. Upon graduation he joined the British Army. He trained with the Argyll & Sutherland Highlanders, was commissioned into the Somerset Light Infantry and later transferred to the Parachute Regiment, where he rose to the rank of Captain. An avid distance runner, he also played rugby for many years in school, with the London Scottish Rugby Club, and finally with the New York Rugby Club. He then refereed up and down the East coast and into Canada for a further 15 years.
He worked for three years in Nigeria with the British West Africa Corporation, where he was the station manager in Kano. Returning to England he was an underwriter in the Lloyd's, London market. He married his first wife, Sarah Mary Anne (nee Drake-Lee), in September 1958. Tragically, she was killed in a car crash forty-two days after their marriage. He later emigrated to New York City where he married Eileen Betty (nee Park) on July 15th, 1963, his beloved wife of 52 years. With less than $5,000 to their names, they both quit their jobs and took an extended six month honeymoon driving 18,000 miles around the United States in a used VW bus, visiting 43 states, British Columbia and Mexico, for most of the trip sleeping in a tent. On returning to New York in June 1964 Michael joined the forerunner of American International Group, Inc. (AIG) where he spent the next 33 years, becoming president and later vice-chairman of American Home Assurance Company, AIG's principle domestic property/casualty insurance subsidiary. He was also senior vice-president of AIG and served on the board of CV Starr. During this time he and his family lived in Summit, New Jersey.
In 1994, about to retire, he was asked instead to go to Shanghai as General Manager of property/casualty operations, AIG being the first insurance company to be allowed back into China by the communist government. Finally retiring in 1997 he and Eileen settled in Castine, Maine where they had bought "Widow Stover's" 1796 house some ten years earlier. In 2001 he was called out of retirement to become President and CEO of a newly formed insurance company in Hamilton, Bermuda with a total staff of three. Allied World Assurance Company prospered and now has a staff of over seven hundred, with additional offices in many cities in the US as well as in London, Dublin, Hong Kong, Singapore, Toronto, Zug, Switzerland and other cities around the world. Allied World was listed on the New York Stock Exchange shortly after he retired as Chairman in 2004, though he remained on the board until the end of 2008.
In retirement he was active in Castine as a driver and board member of the Bagaduce Ambulance Corps for many years, treasurer of the Castine Historical Society, finance committee member of the Castine Scientific Society, a member of the Castine town budget committee, a tutor for many years with Literacy Volunteers of Bangor, and a founding member of At Home Downeast. Upon moving to Topsham he volunteered two days a week at MCHPP (Mid Coast Hunger Prevention Program).
He was predeceased by his loving wife, Eileen, who had provided inspirational support in all his ventures and is survived by his pride and joy, what he described as his greatest accomplishment - his family -Penelope Anne Morrison Boettiger and her husband Keith, Heather Elizabeth Pentland, Andrew Charles Carter Morrison and his wife Gabriella, and seven grandchildren: Paiute and Terra Morrison, Lindsay, Anna and Owen Boettiger, and Ian and Charlie Pentland, as well as by his sister Virginia Marilyn McShane of Dorset, England.
A memorial service will be held at Trinity Episcopal Church in Castine on August 26 at 10:30am. In lieu of flowers, contributions may be made in Michael's memory to the Double B Equine Rescue, 997 West Mills Rd, Industry, ME 04938 or At Home Downeast, P.O.Box 1107, Blue Hill, ME 04614.
Arrangements by Jordan-Fernald, 113 Franklin St. Ellsworth Condolences may be expressed at www.jordanfernald.com
To plant a tree in memory of Michael Ian Donald Morrison, please visit Tribute Store.
Published on August 6, 2019
Plant a tree in memory
of Michael
Plant a tree

Obituary published in


Print Guestbook

A place to share condolences and memories.

Share your condolences and special memories.
The guestbook expires on November 04, 2019.

11 posts

Aug 20, 2019
Michael was my brother and my example in life and my dearly loved hero.
Richard Eisenberg
Aug 18, 2019
I have known Mike for over thirty years. Some people stand out, both for their personal qualities and personality. Mike was as honest and honorable as they come. And every time we spoke, he had the most engaging smile in his voice, even in the weeks preceding his passing. What a wonderful man.

The world is now a poorer place.
Jennifer Gustafson
Aug 12, 2019
I’ve known Michael and Eileen since 1963 when our husbands played rugby together in New York. Eileen and I became instant friends and Michael was an integral part of that friendship.

He was a man of many fine qualities, generous and kind, intellectually brilliant while warm with a wonderful sense of humor.

Not only successful in his career, he and Eileen raised thee exceptional children who so lovingly arranged to all share his final weeks together. He certainly lived a life well lived and will be greatly missed by all who knew and who loved him.
Bridget Payton
Aug 09, 2019
What full and rewarding lives Mike and Eileen led, giving back to their various communities in so many ways. Uncle Mike’s love and service to others are a great legacy and he’ll live on for as long as he’s remembered by those who loved him.
Selena Lucas
Aug 09, 2019
What a full and amazing life, and the fruit of his love for his family is obvious in the lives he has touched.
Brenda & Linwood Green-Double B Equine Rescue
Aug 09, 2019
Such a wonderful kind hearted man. He has contributed to our Rescue for a very long time and loved the horses. He will be greatly missed. We feel very blessed to have known him.
Alston. Patricia Beal
Aug 08, 2019
A wonderful, kind man. Al and I feel blessed to call him our friend.
Pat Wardwell
Aug 08, 2019
Very sorry for your loss. Michael and Eileen were next door neighbors to my Mom, Madge, here in Castine. She enjoyed getting to know them and it was also my pleasure to meet them both occasionally over the years when in Maine.
Gene and George Bland
Aug 07, 2019
We remember Mike and Eileen fondly and with affection. We were among his December birthday guests a few years ago when the family had arranged to have colored lights strung and lit on the large spruce tree while we all watched from the large window in the second floor family room.
Alston. pat Beal
Aug 07, 2019
We have been blessed to have such a kind. Wonderful man to call our friend.
Susie Hatch
Aug 06, 2019
Dear Penny , Heather and Andrew,
Our thoughts are with you all. Mike was a true gentleman, and we considered him a dear friend. We will never forget the kindness and fun we had in Bermuda and the wonderful times here in Castine. He will be sorely missed, but such a life well lived.
With love, David and Susie