MONTROSE, CO —
Former Webb City resident, Ralph William Morris passed away Tuesday, July 17, 2012, at Montrose Memorial Hospital, at the age of 81. He had lived in Montrose, Colo., for the past 12 years.
Ralph was the son of the late Ralph William Morris Sr. and Vela Highley Morris. He was born in Joplin, Mo., and grew up in Webb City.
He was preceded in death by his parents and three bothers, Jimmie Charles and the twins, Edward and Theadore.
Ralph was a member of the Webb City National Guard for approximately 10 years, which he joined while in high school. He was a master sergeant and a tank commander.
He graduated from Webb City High School in 1949, turning down a football scholarship to work at various jobs, including the Webb City Foundry, loading pig iron on railroad cars. Later he worked for the Missouri State Highway Department in Joplin. There he began his career as an engineering inspector and that became his life's work. He helped build many of the bridges, highways and overpasses on the new interstate in the Joplin area during the 1950s and 1960s.
In 1966, he moved with his family to Washington State where he worked on the Mossyrock Dam project. When that job ended he was on a list to go, with family, to Ethiopia to build a dam on the Nile River. This job did not develop due to the expense of the American crew, so in 1969, he worked for an engineering company in Seattle, and moved to Ketchikan, Alaska, for a six month job. His job was to tear out the old wooden sidewalks and replace with concrete and to pave the streets. He and his family liked it there and they continued to live there for 26 years. During that time he worked for the State of Alaska Airport Division, helping build the new airport across from Ketchikan, which later became known in recent years, for the "Bridge to Nowhere". When that was completed he transferred to the building division for the State of Alaska. He helped build a new State Building in Ketchikan, as well as other state buildings. He also flew to Indian and Eskimo villages to build schools. He finally took a job with the City of Ketchikan, where he was the Superintendent of Public Works. He remained in that position until he had a stroke in 1986, and retired.
After retirement he stayed home, where he helped care for Brittany Skye, his oldest granddaughter, while everyone else worked. He was an avid reader and entertained himself working crosswords, watching sports on TV, tending the lawn and studying and reading from his large collection of books. In 1995, he, his wife and son moved to Corvallis, Ore., where they resided for four years. Instructions were given not to leave any books behind. In 1999, they moved again to Montrose, to join his daughter and family.
He is survived by his wife of 56 years, Connie Morgan Morris; his son, Mark William Morris; his daughter, Sherri Lynn Keller (Craig); three grandchildren, Paige Ann Keller, Cory David Keller and Brittany Skye Reid (Cole Fresques); and two great-grandsons, Hayden Cole Fresques-Reid and the newest member of the family who was born just four days before Ralph's passing. He did not get to see his last great-grandson personally, as he was premature, but he did get to see a picture of him. When he saw it he smiled and stated how happy he was to know that they were alright. Then he went back to sleep and was never fully awake again. We take comfort in the fact that he was a loving and understanding husband, father, grandfather and great-grandfather, and in the fact that he had a strong faith in Christ. He is home now and we will see him again.
Donations may be made in his memory to the American Cancer, Diabetes or Heart Society or Wildwood Baptist Church, Joplin.
MONTROSE, CO —
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