Camden — A fun-loving husband, father, brother, grandfather, father-in-law, uncle and friend, Don Morrison, 89, died peacefully in his sleep on the morning of February 15, 2017.
Don loved the world and gave himself freely to it, through community service and volunteer ventures.
He was a very special, kind and loving person whose presence, humor and grace made things better wherever he was.
He was born Sept. 9, 1927, in Albany, N.Y., the son of George Hayward Morrison and Sady Flecker Morrison. Don grew up in Delmar, N.Y., where he attended the local public schools. In September 1945, he entered active service in the Army and served in the Philippines, where he received an appointment to West Point Prep School. He failed the eye test needed to enter West Point, but went on to Union College via the G.I. Bill, where he earned a bachelor's degree in civil engineering. He joined ROTC at Union and was called up by the Air Force during the Korean War and was stationed in London.
Don is survived by Jean Garland Morrison, his wife of 51 years; his daughter, Alyce Morrison Garver, and her husband, Robert, of Mountain Lakes, N.J.; his son, William Morrison Garland, and his wife, Julia, of Brooklyn, N.Y.; his grandson, Simon Garland, of Brooklyn, N.Y.; his brother, Alan Morrison, and his wife, Amy, of Media, Pa..; his nephew Jeffrey Morrison, of New York; and his niece, Julia Morrison, of New York. Donald was predeceased by his sister, Carol Morrison.
He spent his working years in New York City and Boston. Early in his career, when he worked for the New York Central Railroad, he was terminal engineer for Grand Central Terminal, a job which he really enjoyed. Most of his career, he was a project manager or owner’s representative, building high-rise hotels, office buildings and apartment buildings.
Don and Jean retired to Jean’s hometown, Camden, in 1991, expecting to enjoy the good life in Maine and do some travelling. Their life took a different turn when they learned they could combine travelling and volunteering around the country.
Among the highlights was a full summer season at Star Island, a UU/UCC Conference in the Isles of Shoals, where Don was assistant island engineer. This was followed by Habitat for Humanity, Americus, Ga., for three months working to prepare for a 20-house build, which would be done in one week by hundreds of volunteers, including former Pres. and Mrs. Carter.
They made many trips over the years to work at Heifer International Learning Center on a ranch in Perryville, Ark. They also volunteered for Heifer in Ceres, Calif., and at Overlook Farm, Sterling, Mass.
One summer was spent at Sheldon Jackson College, Sitka, Alaska, where Don primarily spent his time planning for and working with service groups coming from “the lower 48” to do much-needed maintenance for the college.
They spent two academic years in Asheville, N.C., at Warren Wilson College, which requires all students to work on campus. Don was part of the carpentry crew, where his coworkers were students. Jean worked in the college post office and bank with a student crew.
After the collapse of the Soviet Union, Don volunteered with the International Executive Service Corps working on real estate development projects in Russia, one in Perm and one in Kislovodsk. Jean joined him on these trips and did some English tutoring.
Don’s globetrotting adventures still left time for him to become part of the local community via his involvement with the First Universalist Church in Rockland, Knox County Democratic Committee, Maine Coast Men, Camden Rotary, Window Dressers, he also was invited to join the Elite Coffee Group in Camden, even though he was “from away.”
A memorial service will be held at the First Universalist Church, 345 Broadway, Rockland at 2 p.m. April 15.
Memorial donations may be sent to the Knox County Health Clinic, 22 White St., Rockland, ME 04841.
Arrangements are with Direct Cremation of Maine, Belfast. Memories and condolences may be shared at directcremationofmaine.com.