The Reverend Joseph Graham Morrison III ’33

The Reverend Joseph Graham Morrison III ’33, died Jan. 26 at his home, The Woods at Holly Tree, in Wilmington, N.C. He was born Oct. 24, 1911, in Shelby, N.C., to the late Joseph Graham Morrison, Jr. and Pearl Gardner Morrison. In addition to his parents, he was preceded in death by his loving wife of 68 years, Carolyn Craven Morrison, and two sons, Jackson Davis Morrison and Junius Watson Morrison. Morrison was the oldest of five children: Junius Morrison ’33, John Morrison, Margaret Morrison Guillette, and is survived by his sister, Anna Morrison Whiddon. He is also survived by one son, Joseph Graham Morrison IV ’62 (Traudy), 5808 Brookstone Cir., Acworth, GA 30101-4501; one daughter, Ann Morrison Keir (Danny); eight grandchildren, Ralph Morrison, Daniel Keir, Christopher Keir, Laura Morrison, Amy Morrison, Michelle Morrison, Jake Morrison, and Mike Morrison; and seven great-grandchildren.

Morrison was called to the ministry while in high school and enrolled in Davidson, graduating in 1933. His great-great-grandfather, Robert H. Morrison, was the first president of Davidson. He then entered Union Theological Seminary, graduating in 1936, and accepted a call to his first congregation near Richmond, Va., where he served for four years.

In November 1936, Morrison married Carolyn Craven, the love of his life. In 1941, while serving the Grove Presbyterian Church in Kenansville, N.C., Joe was called into active duty as an Army chaplain. He served for five and a half years of which 42 months were in combat duty in the South Pacific, sometimes presiding over funerals of up to 90 servicemen a day. He was honorably discharged in February 1946 as a major, receiving the American Defense Medal, Philippine Liberation Medal with two stars, and the APT Medal with two battle stars. Morrison served as pastor in Ronceverte, W.Va., for 16 years.

In 1965, he became the pastor of the Presbyterian Church in Wallace for 10 years before retiring. He continued to serve churches in the area, most recently Hopewell Presbyterian Church, and preached his last sermon there at the age of 97. His hobbies included hunting, baseball, and flying as a private pilot for 52 years. Dear friends and faith sustained the Morrisons all their lives.