Jack Alfred Morris, a life-long resident of Caney, Kansas passed away on Monday, September 30, 2019 at the age of 93 at Jane Phillips Medical Center in Bartlesville, Oklahoma. Cremation has taken place with Potts Chapel of Caney. Graveside services will be held Friday, October 11, 2019 at 10:00am at Sunnyside Cemetery in Caney, Kansas. Book signing is available Monday-Thursday 9:00am-5:00pm. In lieu of flowers, Jack would want you to call your loved ones to tell them they are special, learn something new and take time to enjoy life. Jack would also want you to support Caney by donating time or money to the local food pantry, Caney Valley Historical Society, CVHS Alumni Association, the Caney Public Library or another similar, local organization. These donations can be left with the funeral home.
Jack was an extremely active person and it really only makes sense that he died from a broken hip. Sure, other medical issues crept in, but in the end, Jack left this earthly realm to explore the universe and reunite with his beloved, Faye Marie, because he had been up and moving at his home to see what he could see. Until the very end, Jack continued his love of learning, discovering all there is to know about the world in which we live, and sharing the spirit of Jesus’ love with everyone he met. His wisdom and kindness leaves an impactful legacy on all who have known him. Family, friends and even acquaintances have memories of Jack they will always cherish.
Jack was born on Christmas Eve 1925 to Dorothy (Kirby) Morris and Merle Morris in Independence, Kansas. Stories tell that he was quite a whippersnapper and full of energy. He was an only child for 10 years until his younger brother, Billy Joe was born. Jack could recall his birth as a special day for his family and enjoyed being the older brother. The Morris family had to move many times, due to the Depression Era, and later, Jack would recall instances in which his father had to struggle to find work, in order to care for his family. Jack learned the meaning of hard work and dedication to family, from his father’s example. The search for employment led the family to Missouri for a time, but the Morris family eventually returned to the Caney area and Merle worked for the smelters and for his uncle, Mr. Hollopeter. This is a significant turning point in Jack’s life because Mr. Hollopeter bought Jack his very first bicycle from a store window in Caney. Jack is well remembered for his love of riding his bicycle and at one point, if you lived in Caney, you knew the man riding the bike through town was Jack Morris. As Jack aged, and was not able to safely ride his bike, he would still walk through Caney recalling it’s former residents and visiting with the current ones. He loved his walks through downtown Caney and would make his rounds to say hello to the local businesses. He was always on the go.
In December of 1943, the United States of America needed men to fight in World War II and had established a draft. In order to get a deferred deployment and finish high school, Jack chose to enlist in the Army Air Corp., upon turning 18. After graduation, on June 3, 1944, Jack left Kansas behind for basic training in Texas and later gunnery school in Nevada and California. He served in the Pacific conflict as a tailgunner on a B-24 Liberator with the 43rd Bomb Group. Almost 70 years after the bombing of Hiroshima, Japan, Jack revealed to friends and family that he had actually witnessed the atom bomb’s mushroom cloud from his tail turret. It was such a devastating event that Jack had been unable to speak of it until a time in which he walked to the local newspaper office and asked them to correct the date of the bombing on an article that had been previously published. Shortly after, interviews and articles about Jack and his experiences during World War II were conducted and preserved for history.
Jack left the military, after his service, on October 6, 1945 and returned to his hometown. He attended school at Coffeyville Community College. A popular girl, Faye Marie Boles, had caught his eye and after a brief courtship, they were married on October 11, 1946. Together, they were parents to Jana Lea and Farley Brent. Jack’s children have remained close to him throughout their lives and have vivid memories of an idyllic childhood. Jack worked for Phillips 66 and for a short while the family lived in Texas. In the early 1960’s, Jack and family returned to Caney where Jack and Faye Marie became small business owners. They were fixtures in Caney as the proprietors of Jack Morris Phillips 66 service station for more than 30 years. After the business closed, Jack was never one to sit around, so at the age of almost 70, Jack went to work for KOPCO, in Caney, for another decade. Jack and Faye Marie were members of the Caney United Methodist Church. Jack was a faithful follower of his Lord and Savior Jesus Christ and represented Christ’s love in word and deed. He and Faye Marie celebrated 61 years of marriage together until his true love passed away in 2008.
Jack was an extremely proud grandfather, great-grandfather and great-great grandfather. He always focused on the positive and saw the absolute goodness in all of his grandchildren. He has 5 grandchildren, Nathan (Becky) Parker, Rachele (Eric) Morris Hill, Sarah (Todd) Parker Zimmerman, Brandi Morris and Aaron (Elani) Parker; 14 great-grandchildren; Nichole (Adam) Parker Hardesty, Mabel Parker, Moriah Parker, Abby Hill, Jack Hill, Emma Zimmerman, Alexis (Nathan) Peterson, Riley (Alex) Wood, Madilynn Hawthorne, Ada Parker, Atticus Parker, Brick Parker, Charlotte Parker and Clarence Parker. Jack also has a great-great granddaughter, Adaline Hardesty, and a great-great grandson, Adrian Gutierrez, to be born in November.
Jack’s grandchildren have fond memories of riding on his back when they were little, going on long bike rides together in the summers, taking trips together, and the delight he took in eating a sweet snack or cookie. He was a calm and ever present voice of reason with a strong moral compass that still helps guide them to this very day. They agree with all the adjectives that others have shared to describe Jack, such as, legendary, admirable, loyal, sweet, genuine, a patriot, great, kind, humble, smart, hardworking, faithful and patient.
Also, on Monday, September 30th, the Caney Valley High School Bullpups lost one of their most dedicated and loyal supporters. For decades, Jack could be seen in attendance at high school basketball and football games. He loved cheering on the Bullpups and keeping up with the players. Jack himself was a Bullpup and a 1944 graduate of Caney Valley High School and played football there. Jack had coaches and teachers at CVHS whom he often recalled fondly. It should be noted that Jack was an avid sports fan and enjoyed cheering for KU Basketball, the Kansas City Royals and the Kansas City Chiefs.
Survivors include his brother, Billy Joe; his daughter, Jana; his son, Brent; 5 grandchildren, 14 great-grandchildren, 2 great-great grandchildren, sister-in-laws Darla (Ray) Boles Tucker and Doranne Boles Wyman and many loving nieces, nephews and extended family.
Jack was preceded in death by his father, Merle; his mother, Dorothy; and his wife Faye Marie. Graveside services will be held at Sunnyside Cemetery in Caney on Friday, October 11, 2019 with full military honors. Following the service, family and friends will gather at the Sandstone Building at 310 W. 4th Avenue and take a reflective walk along the streets of downtown Caney to honor Jack’s memory. October 11th would be Jack and Faye Marie’s 73rd wedding anniversary, so the family is also going to honor this day by performing random acts of kindness and hope you will join them wherever you may be.