Peyton Morse remembered in moving ceremony

Updated: Mar. 19, 2021 at 5:45 PM EDT
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CLAYTON, N.Y. (WWNY) - Peyton Morse was remembered as someone dedicated to the service of others and who always wanted to be a firefighter.

The funeral service for the fallen Watertown firefighter was held Friday at St. Mary’s Church in Clayton. Inside the church, hundreds of people, tears, laughs and memories.

Watertown Fire Chief Matthew Timerman delivered the eulogy, describing Peyton as a wonderful man, son, brother, and partner.

Timerman said he was “full of strength, love, and promise,” who was “an open book with a strong passion for others.”

Timerman recalled offering the job of fulltime firefighter to Peyton.

“When I said, ‘Well, how ‘bout it Peyton? You want a job?’ The realization took a little while to sink in, but when it did, his smile was incredible.”

“His resume still sits on my desk. I still have a voicemail on my phone from a question he had on his entrance physical. His new turnout gear was just delivered two days ago to my office. And now he’s gone.”

After sharing a lengthy list of things he would remember about Peyton, Timerman ended the eulogy saying, “That was a life well lived. Farewell my brother.”

Ethan Johnson, Peyton’s best friend, remembered him as a person who would always help when asked and who worried about others more than himself.

“He would call me just to make sure I was okay, or having a good day, even when he wasn’t. He always looked to cheer me up, or anyone else for that matter, before he worried about himself,” Johnson said.

His mother, Stacy Snyder-Morse, said her son “was really not all that patient with things.

“He came into this world early, and he’s leaving us early.”

She described him as “a mischievous child” and someone who always followed “a particular moral compass.”

She told the story of when he had the opportunity to write a letter to get one of the extra tickets to a school-sponsored trip to a show in Syracuse.

She said he wrote the letter, but asked for the ticket for his brother, who was unable to write it himself because of a serious medical condition.

Hundreds of firefighters escorted his casket to the church from Clayton’s Cerow Recreation Park.

The procession was led by the Emerald Society Pipes and Drums from the New York City Fire Department.

“Our hearts are heavy, the mind confused, hearts are broken,” the Rev. Arthur LaBaff said during the service.

The ceremony ended with the traditional “Last Call,” the tolling of a bell in three sets of three rings each.

The 21-year-old firefighter died last Friday, nine days after he suffered a medical emergency during training at the New York State Academy of Fire Science in Montour Falls.

He was a member of the Watertown Fire Department and volunteered for the LaFargeville Fire Department.

He also volunteered with the Shaker Road-Loudonville Fire Department while he was attending nearby Siena College.

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