Eulogy for
Raplh Morris
Presented by Fritz Cohen
August 12, 2008

As we recall the life and times of our fellow Rotarian Ralph Morris, we pay tribute to a man, who was steadfast and brave, even in the most trying days of his suffering. I repeat what I said 2 weeks ago, "we lost a good man, a model for his family, a man who served his community AND who served his country." Since many of us have read the published obituary, I will summarize a few details that highlight his many interests and achievements.

Ralph was born in Chicago on 17 March 1919. His mother and father died quite early in his life, and he was raised by his stepmother Blanche Oppenheimer Morris in Lafayette. The Oppenheimers were a prominent Lafayette family. Ralph graduated from Jeff in 1936, enrolled in Antioch College and graduated in 1941 with a degree in Business Administration. In January 1942 Ralph enlisted in the Army Air Corps, he was sent to OCS and later served in the 3rd Air Division under the command of General Curtis LeMay, attaining the rank of Captain. Discharged in August 1945, he worked as a Public Accountant until his retirement in 1984. In 1949 he was married to Marjorie Guiterman, daughter of a prominent Milwaukee family. His membership in, and active support of professional, civic, religious and military associations reflect his concern for the well-being of our country. They are far too many to list here, but a few will illustrate the wide spectrum of his interests: Air Force Association, B'nai B'rith, Lafayette Elks, Home Hosp. Board of Directors, Rotary 1954-to the present, Paul Harris Fellow, John Purdue Club, Treasurer and later President of Temple Israel and Sagamore of the Wabash.

Of all of the awards he received, the one most precious to him was "Lifetime Achievement Award" given to him by his children.

He was also a collector of Native American artifacts from tribal areas in Arizona and New Mexico. They are now on display in the Eiteljorg Museum of Indianapolis.

In the way of a personal note, my own family and the Morrisses became friends in the summer of 1958, when we moved here from Milwaukee. There, we had by pure chance met the Guitermans, parents of Marjorie, and had been urged to get in touch with the Morrisses on arrival in Lafayette. This we did, and were invited to call on them, living at that time on King Street.

As many of you know, Ralph had a sense of humor that was vigorous at the very least. His wit was legendary but self-deprecating rather than at the expense of others. Matter of fact he never passed up an opportunity to be witty, and those who knew him will agree that at times it tended to be a bit raunchy (replace with "robust"). Hence examples are not always suitable in any and all venues.

In conclusion, our friendship endured to the end. It was my good fortune to have seen him a week before his death. As I turned to walk out of his room, this person under the white sheet, with tubes entering and exiting his body, bade me good bye and thanked me profusely for coming to visit him so often. It was a difficult moment for me and all I could think of was "Ralph! You and I have been friends for a long time. And you would do the same for me." Ralph was a good guy. May he rest in peace!