William Harold Morris, Jr. was born on June 30, 1934, in Gastonia, N.C. and passed away on June 6, 2017. He was preceded in death by his parents, William Harold, Sr., and Margaret Lewis Morris. His brother, Robert, survives.
Survivors include his wife of 58 years, Margaret; his three children: Beth Sarros (Nick) of Mt. Zion, IL; Hal (Alyssa) of Palo Alto, CA and Bobby (Gloria) of St. John, IN; eight grandchildren: Anthony and Meg Sarros; Grace, Will, J.K., Audrey and Henriette Morris; and Gavin Reinbold-Morris.
Visitation will be Sunday, June 11, 2017, from 2:00 – 6:00 p.m. at Kish Funeral Home, 10000 Calumet Avenue, Munster, IN. A memorial service will be held on Monday, June 12, 2017 at 11:00 a.m. at Westminster Presbyterian Church, 8955 Columbia Ave., Munster, IN. Bill moved to Charlotte, NC., at nine years of age found himself taking on many new experiences.
While his grandfather served in the N.C. Legislature (both in the House and the Senate), Bill served 2 terms as a page, one year as Chief Page. He would go to school on Monday, pick up his assignments for the week, and leave for Raleigh with his grandfather. Bill rarely saw his grandfather, so he would complete his school work on the first day, complete his page duties and return home to Charlotte, turn his assignments in on Friday and start the process all over again on Monday. This would go on for several months, but he always managed to achieve outstanding grades!
He attended Harding High School and enjoyed playing football (becoming Charlotte’s leading scorer his senior year, despite never having played the sport until his junior year) and baseball. Bill always loved all sports, but enjoyed baseball the most.
He was greatly influenced by his uncle, Buddy Lewis, who played in the major leagues for 13 years and was a two-time All Star, despite having his career interrupted by World War II and his stint as a pilot flying over 500 missions in the China Burma India Theater and receiving the Distinguished Flying Cross.
Bill received his undergraduate degree from Davidson College, with honors, where he played football two years and baseball 4 years, serving as a tri-captain his senior year. <
He was also a member of Sigma Chi fraternity. Bill received his medical degree from the University of North Carolina School of Medicine at Chapel Hill in 1960, where he was named to Alpha Omega Alpha, medicine’s highest honorary.
While in Chapel Hill he also tried to revive interest in the graduate intramural program, achieving some amazing results for the medical school. Internship and residency years were spent at Johns Hopkins Hospital in Baltimore, MD. His love of pediatrics and of children only intensified during this time; and he made the decision that private practice would be his future, not academic medicine.
Having made the private practice decision, Bill entered the Army as a Captain. The Vietnam war was in full swing; and Bill was assigned to Ft. Rucker, AL, to establish the Department of Pediatrics. Ft. Rucker was the base for training helicopter pilots who would be sent to fight the war in Vietnam.
At one time it was named the busiest airport in the world. The worst part of Bill’s assignment was the casualty lists which so often contained the names of his patients’ fathers. At the conclusion of his service, he was commended for his dedication and his service to the children of Ft. Rucker. The Hammond Clinic was Bill’s final professional destination.
He came to the Clinic in July of 1965 to establish the Department of Pediatrics. Thus began his 35 years of devotion and service to the children of northwest Indiana and northeastern Illinois. Along the way he became the Chairman of the Department of Pediatrics both at St. Margaret’s Hospital and Community Hospital.
He served on national committees for the American Medical Association. He was a member of the American Academy of Pediatrics, American Medical Association, Indiana State Medical Society and Lake County Medical Society. Bill thoroughly enjoyed his practice and was very devoted to his patients and to his nurses.
Parents had his permission to start calling him between 6:00 a.m. and 7:00 a.m. if they had concerns about a sick child whom he had seen or a brittle diabetic who might need to be regulated. He wanted to be sure that his patients received the care and attention that they deserved.
Upon his retirement on January 1, 1999, Bill was able to enjoy some of his passions- crosswords puzzles, music, reading, all sports, but especially baseball, English mysteries, his dogs- “Ditka” and “Brick”, travel and travelogues.
Throughout his life, his family always came first. He tried very hard to make his children’s swim meets, baseball games, tennis matches, basketball games, etc. He also enjoyed coaching his sons’ baseball teams, going out to play them in tennis matches or serving as Commissioner of the Munster Babe Ruth 13 year old league. He simply enjoyed the sports environment- the friends and coaches, the players, the rituals, the interaction with other teams and their players.
His family and his grandchildren were such great joys to him. There was always a lot of teasing, but always a lot of fun and a lot of love.
He will be sorely missed. Upon Bill’s retirement on January 1, 1999, Governor Frank O’Bannon awarded him the Sagamore of the Wabash Award, Indiana’s highest award to be given to a citizen.
In lieu of flowers, please consider a donation to the Humane Society, 421 45th St. Munster, IN 46321, Westminster Presbyterian Church, 8955 Columbia Ave., Munster, IN or a charity of your choice. www.kishfuneralhome.net
Published in The Times from June 9 to June 10, 2017