Morris “Morrie” Seigal, a beloved educator and school principal who later served for 29 years on the Chelsea School Committee, died on Oct. 15 after a brief illness. He was 92.
Mr. Seigal lived in Chelsea for his entire life, graduating from Chelsea High School before going on to receive his undergraduate degree from Salem State and his graduate degree from Boston University. He was a U.S. Army veteran of World War II, serving in the South Pacific. He and his wife, Marion, shared 66 years of marriage.
During his 36-year career in the Chelsea school system, Mr. Seigal was a teacher and assistant principal at the Williams School prior to concluding his career as the principal at the Mary C. Burke School.
“For all but three years of his life and his service in the Army and before his retirement, my father was either going to Chelsea schools, teaching, or being a member of the School Committee,” said his son, Jay Seigal, a lead teacher and basketball coach in the Chelsea school system.
“Mr. Seigal was a wonderful man,” said Councilor-at-Large Leo Robinson. “Mr. Seigal was one of my teachers at the Williams School. He was an outstanding educator and always had the best interests of his students in mind every day. I was honored that I had the opportunity to serve with him in Chelsea government for so many years.”
After retiring from his principal’s position at the Mary C. Burke School, Mr. Seigal was urged to run for School Committee by Burke School parents and school PTA president Rosemarie Carlisle, who would later serve with him on the committee.
Mr. Seigal won re-election to the committee numerous times, receiving substantial votes from the electorate. Mr. Seigal joined the late Andrew P. Quigley, a colleague on the Committee, and other colleagues like Rosemarie Carlisle and Lydia Walata in supporting the Chelsea School Committee’s decision to have Boston University manage the Chelsea school system.
“My father spent all his life serving the city – that’s what he knew and that’s what he enjoyed doing,” said Jay Seigal. “When he retired from the committee, he felt that it was time to bring some new people on board, let some younger people in the community make some decisions about the kids.”
An avid sports fan who enjoyed visits to Suffolk Downs with his brothers, Joe Seigal, and the late Bill Seigal, the distinguished sports editor of the Chelsea Record, Mr. Seigal was a regular spectator at Chelsea sports events. He would sit in the stands at the old Chelsea Armory on Spencer Avenue where he would watch his son, Jay, play for the Chelsea High Red Devils basketball team. Mr. Seigal continued to follow the academic, athletic and career accomplishments of his seven grandchildren and two great-grandchildren up until the time of his death. Mr. Seigal’s three children, sons Jeffrey, a music teacher before becoming vice president of a company, and Jay, and a daughter, Maxine Ebb, said their father was loved and revered by his grandchildren and great-grandchildren.
“My father was very proud of his grandchildren and great-grandchildren,” said Jay Seigal.
Mr. Seigal and his wife, Marion, would travel to Florida and host joyous gatherings where the family surrounded their beloved patriarch. He also enjoyed attending the Chelsea Reunions in Florida organized by Leona Grell.
Jay Seigal, who inherited his father’s warmth and likability, was asked why people from all walks of life – from Mr. Seigal’s colleagues at the old Chelsea Y.M.H.A. including fellow giants in this community like Paul “Choc” Glazer, Sumner Bloom, Nate Finklestein, Abe Garnick, Al Generazzo to his teaching and administrative colleagues, came to admire Mr. Seigal so much.
“My father was a man of integrity,” said Jay Seigal. “If he told you something that he was going to do, he would follow through and do it. He would never break a promise to anybody and I think people respected him for that. He always had the city and the kids in mind when he made his decisions.”
Jay Seigal said one of the unique things about his parents was that they never obtained their driver’s licenses.
“They never got their license. I think my father liked the idea of being in the city and being able to walk where he needed to get to since he was so involved with the city. He walked to Bellingham Square. He walked to City Hall. He walked everywhere.”
Mr. Seigal loved the city of Chelsea and its residents.
“My father lived a good life, He wasn’t extravagant in what he did. He liked to be at home and be with his family and liked to be in Chelsea. He never talked about leaving Chelsea to live somewhere else. Chelsea really meant something to him.”
Funeral services for Morris Seigal will be held today at Temple Emmanuel in Chelsea.