Charles Barrett Morrill


Charles Barrett Morrill, 85, of Southwest Harbor, died suddenly at his home on Thursday, Jan. 16, of natural causes.

Born on April 4, 1934, Charles grew up in Wakefield, Mass., the son of Katherine Anstiss Barrett Morrill and Charles Wardwell Morrill. His father died suddenly when he was 8 years old.

Maine was a second home to him, as his fourth great-grandfather had built the family home in Farmington Falls in 1810. He graduated from Bowdoin College in 1956, the same year he married Charlotte Helen Riebel of West Hartford, Conn. On advice from his father-in-law, he entered the electronic computer industry when most computer programmers knew of each other’s teams and many simply knew each other.

A man who could understand and easily fix nearly any machine, the concept of computer-programmed, and eventually computer-controlled machine tools fascinated Charles from the beginning. He spent a lifetime in fields that later became computer-aided manufacturing (CAM) and computer-aided design (CAD).

Charles joined IBM in 1964 and ultimately taught generations of programmers to think not so much of their own brilliance but rather the poor person who would one day have to debug their code.

Charles delighted in tough problems and ultimately the tangled webs we weave. He was not without faults. Good friends and family noted a lifelong addiction to puns, show tunes, George Gershwin and Lionel trains. He played the clarinet with the Boston Symphony at least once and, until the very end of his life, was reduced to tears by well-played music.

He was exceedingly liberal and loved his friends who were not. He died thinking the world would be a better place if everyone would just read the manual and restart their computer at least once in a while. He is survived by his wife of 63 years, Charlotte Riebel Morrill, also of Southwest Harbor; a son, Charles Frederick Morrill, and daughter-in-law, Carol Manno Morrill, both of Charlottesville, Va.; a sister, Anstiss Morrill, of Farmington Falls; and sisters-in-law Susan Chacin and her wife, Ginny Garrett, both of Berkeley, Calif.

Also surviving are two grand grandchildren: Charles Maxwell Morrill of Tampa, Fla., and Sara Anstiss Morrill, of Atlanta, Ga., in addition to nephews Ernesto Chacin, Stefan Wardwell Lisowski and Tomas Barrett Lisowski.

All are welcome to a service of remembrance for Charles at the Southwest Harbor Public Library on Sunday, March 15, at 2 p.m.

In lieu of flowers, the family asks for contributions to the library, for which Charles worked as a board member and volunteer for many years with love and dedication.

Arrangements by Jordan-Fernald, 1139 Main St., Mount Desert. Condolences may be expressed at

Know when to pay your respects.