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Agnes N. Morrice, 44-year MIT employee, dies at age 95

Agnes N. “Nancy” Morrice, who worked at MIT for more than four decades in various telecommunications roles, died on April 2. She was 95.

Morrice began working at MIT in 1936 as an elevator operator in Building 10. It was there that she came to the attention of Carleton Tucker, an electrical engineering professor who was in charge of MIT’s telecommunications operations at the time. He encouraged Morrice to become a telephone operator — a job she had previously held when she lived on Martha’s Vineyard.

In those days, telephone calls were routed through long banks of plug-in switchboards, and operators connected the calls manually. Morrice was promoted from operator to shift supervisor to chief operator, and eventually she became the assistant to the director of telecommunications.

In that role, Morrice oversaw the operators, customer service representatives and billing. She directed various technology changes, such as MIT’s transition in 1972 to New England Telephone’s Centrex system, which allowed for direct calls.

Morrice retired in 1980 after 44 years at MIT. Morton Berlan, her manager at the time, remembered Morrice “as a wonderful person who was a great help to me and to all at MIT.” Diane Catalano, who reported to Morrice and still works part-time as an operator at MIT, called Morrice “very diligent, and a good person to work for.”

Morrice leaves her sister, Margaret Reuters of Yarmouthport; many nephews and nieces; and her close friends, the Irving family of Marlborough, Mass., with whom she made her home.

A memorial service will be held for Morrice at 2 p.m. on Sept. 27 at the First Congregational Church in Natick, Mass. For information, see the In Memory of Agnes N. Morrice page or e-mail Nancy Irving at

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