MORRIS JR., JAMES WALTER (1921 ~ 2014). The following is an obituary for James "Jim" Walter Morris Jr., former longtime Texas Department of Public Safety official. The obituary was provided by Weed, Corley, Fish Funeral Home.
James Walter (Jim) Morris, Jr., a resident of Austin since 1945, passed away Friday, October 31, 2014, at the age of 93. All those who knew Jim will cherish memories of a true Texan who lovingly and loyally served his family, faith, state, and country.
Jim was born June 5, 1921, in Huntsville, Texas. He was the youngest of four children of James Walter Morris, Sr., and Ethel Moore Morris. He attended Huntsville High School, where he was a member of the Huntsville Hornet basketball and football teams, graduating in 1938. He was baptized into the Southern Baptist faith and also became a Boy Scout, an accomplished employee of the soda fountain at the J. Robert King drug store on the town square in Huntsville, where Jim's father had maintained a barber shop, and an employee of a gasoline station where, unbeknown to Jim, Clyde Barrow and Bonnie Parker once stopped for fuel. Following high school, Jim worked in the shipyards in the Houston area, helping to build "Liberty" ships, prior to enlisting in the United States Navy after the United States became involved in World War II. He served on the patrol frigate U.S.S. Rockford in the south Pacific, the Aleutian Islands, and elsewhere.
Following his discharge, Jim came to Austin, to which his mother, his sister Margaret, and her daughter Barbara had relocated. He obtained employment with the Texas Department of Public Safety (DPS) and became a member of First Baptist Church of Austin. Through the good offices of his sister Margaret, who was employed in the office of Governor Coke Stevenson, Jim was introduced to another member of Governor Stevenson's staff, Agnes Jeanne McLean. Jim and Jeanne were married April 7, 1947, at Saint Mary Cathedral. Their first child, James Walter Morris, III, arrived on February 6, 1948, followed by John Richard Morris on June 6, 1953, and Joseph William Morris on June 28, 1961. Initially, the couple made their home in Alice, Texas, where Jim was stationed as a DPS driver's license examiner. Austin became their permanent home in late 1948.
Having joined the U.S. Naval Reserve following his service in World War II, Jim was recalled to active duty in the Navy in late 1950, serving aboard the troop transport U.S.S. Montrose during the Korean conflict. Upon discharge, he returned to Austin and resumed his career at the DPS. Having begun as a file clerk, he subsequently was entrusted with progressively responsible positions in the Identification, Driver's License, and License and Weight Divisions. During this period, the DPS moved from Camp Mabry to its present headquarters on North Lamar Boulevard. In connection with the comprehensive reorganization of the DPS during the mid-1950's, Jim was placed in charge of General Stores. He subsequently returned to the Identification Division and was involved in linking Texas law enforcement agencies with the Federal Bureau of Investigation's National Crime Information Center (NCIC). After subsequently serving as Manager of Fleet Operations, he was promoted to Chief of Personnel and Staff Services and later became Chief of Administration. From that position, third highest in the DPS management hierarchy, he retired on June 30, 1983, while retaining a special Texas Ranger's commission.
Following his retirement, Jim served as Doorkeeper of the Senate of the State of Texas from the Special Session of the 69th Legislature in 1985 through the Regular Session of the 74th Legislature in 1995. During his service as its Doorkeeper, the Senate frequently called on Jim to offer its morning invocations. A collection of them was published by Lieutenant Governor William P. Hobby, Jr., following the 71st Legislature in 1989.
Jim also was a loyal and active member, as long as his health permitted it, of his church and of a number of service organizations. At First Baptist Church of Austin, he was a member of the Board of Deacons and served as its chairman. He also became an early member of the Men's Downtown Bible Class, now known as the Judge Zollie Steakley Class, serving twice as its President. Jim also participated in activities of Saint Austin's Catholic Church, where the rest of his family were parishioners, and Saint Austin's School. He was a longtime member of the Texas Public Employees Association, serving as President and on committees. After leaving the DPS, he became a member of the newly created Texas Retired Public Employees Association. Jim also retained, as an adult, his boyhood enthusiasm for the Boy Scouts of America and its Capital Area Council and was awarded scouting's prestigious Silver Beaver Award. He served, along with Jeanne, as a volunteer at Seton Medical Center. He later provided many hours of volunteer service to the Austin Settlement Home for Children.
Throughout most of his life, Jim was an avid outdoorsman, enjoying hunting and fishing, although he eventually confessed that he was no longer "mad at those deer." Following Jim's retirement, he and Jeanne acquired a second home on Lake Lyndon B. Johnson, where they spent as much leisure time as possible. Jim also retained his interest in sports, particularly college basketball and football, attending University of Texas games and the University Interscholastic League basketball tournament with a childhood friend from Huntsville, Toby Gates. He was particularly fond of pets, from a pointer, "Tex," through two Brittany Spaniels, "Peaches" and "Dixie," as well as other dogs, chickens, ducks, and pigeons. He also enjoyed books, especially biographies and accounts of events during World War II, so that new reading material was always well-received at Christmas or on his birthday or Father's Day. Jim also will be remembered as an expert storyteller. He specialized in episodes involving his youth in Huntsville, his military service, and his career at the DPS. Even late in life, he was able to recall the names of shipmates and the details of episodes aboard the U.S.S. Rockford during World War II.
Jim was preceded in death by his wife, Jeanne; his brothers, R.E. and William Otha Morris; his sister Margaret; and his parents. He is survived by his sons, James W., III, and his wife, Donna, of Austin; John Richard and his wife, Susan, of Fort Worth; and Joseph William of Austin; four grandchildren, Joy Michelle Jenkins of Columbia, Missouri; Carrie Melissa Morris of Austin; Christopher John Morris of Austin; and Courtney Elizabeth Morris of Fort Worth; and twelve nieces and nephews and their families.
The family will receive friends from 5:00 to 7:00 p.m. on Sunday, November 2nd at Weed-Corley-Fish Funeral Home on North Lamar. Services will be held at 11:00 a.m. on Monday, November 3, 2014 in the Weed-Corley-Fish Chapel. Interment will follow at Texas State Cemetery.
In lieu of flowers, Jim's family has suggested contributions to the Austin Settlement Home for Children, 1600 Payton Gin Road, Austin, TX 78758.
"Well done, my good and faithful servant. Since you were faithful in small matters, I will give you great responsibilities. Come, share your master's joy." Matthew 25:21.