My Dad’s love affair with life ended on Thursday, October 31, 2019. Wayne L. Morris, 92, died peacefully when, after enjoying the Halloween party at his living facility, he suddenly collapsed and slipped into heaven. Dad would be the first to tell you, “What a way to go!” A memorial service for Wayne will be held on Thursday, November 7, at 11:00 a.m. in the chapel of Village Presbyterian Church, 6641 Mission Road, Prairie Village, KS.
Wayne was born on May 18, 1927 to Elvin and Elsie (Davin) Morris in Green, KS. His happy childhood was spent in the small towns of Onaga and Russell, KS. He lived in a railroad house in Russell, loving school and playing sports. He was proud to be a starter on the 1944-45 basketball team that went to the state tournament, and he was Student Council president his senior year. He thought that was pretty good for a kid from “across the tracks.”
After high school he served 14 months in the navy; and, with help from the GI Bill, he attended Baker University in Baldwin, KS. He was a member of Zeta Chi Fraternity. While at Baker, he found his calling as an educator and met the love of his life, Marilyn Harrison. They married following graduation in 1950 and started their family when Mark was born in 1954, and Melinda in 1956. Their marriage spanned 58 years until Marilyn’s death in 2008.
Wayne spent his professional career as an elementary teacher and principal, most notably in the Shawnee Mission District at Prairie and Highlands schools. He and Marilyn were charter members of Asbury United Methodist Church in Prairie Village, where he was a lay leader and choir member. Later, he and Marilyn became members of Village Presbyterian Church, where he was an Elder, choir member, and part of the Stephen Ministry Leadership Team.
Life changed dramatically for the Morris family in 1976, when son Mark died in the Kappa Sigma Fraternity house fire at Baker.
After retirement in 1988, Dad spent his time playing tennis, cycling on his 10-speed, reading, and going about doing good. He volunteered for CASA, the JoCo Library, St. Joseph Hospital, Village Church, and the Front Porch Alliance. He and Mom also loved to travel, taking trips around the country and around the world. Dad summed up his philosophy in a short phrase from a Sinatra song: “My leaves are turning. How green they were, how bright they are. And oh, how wonderful my love affair with life.”
Wayne was preceded in death by his wife, Marilyn, and his son, Mark. He is survived by daughter, Melinda, and son-in-law, Tom; granddaughters Miranda Vogel and Marilyn Kearney; and step-granddaughter Katie Kohler, her husband, John, and children Ben and Audrey.
Deepest thanks to the staff of The Heritage of Overland Park for the loving care provided to Dad over the past five years. Memorial contributions may be made to Baker University, c/o University Advancement, P.O. Box 65, Baldwin, KS 66006 Attn: the Mark Harrison Morris Scholarship.
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