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RIP John Morris Sr.-Rocky Mountain Hat Company


New in Town
On September 28, 2016 my father, best friend, business partner and mentor passed away. For those of you have been here awhile you may remember some of my earlier postings here on the Lounge.

Dad Obit-7465 by john morris, on Flickr

PhotoGrid_1476218352626 by john morris, on Flickr

Dad 2-4575 by john morris, on Flickr

Obituary-John Morris II

"An extraordinary man, as much artist as scientist, John Roller Morris II lived 78 years the way a man should live – thinking all things are possible. Born in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, to Mildred (Hunter) and John “Jack” Roller Morris on June 2, 1938, he was raised in an old farmhouse in the verdant countryside on the outskirts of town. He attended a one-room school where the pupils hauled water from the well daily and some of the second-graders were 16 years old. John skipped a grade to join his buddies in high school, and meanwhile honed lifetime skills in hunting and trapping, helped his dad raise a garden, built a two-story addition to the old farmhouse, and developed interests in taxidermy, chemistry and physics. College, marriage, kids, graduate school, and work as a college professor were supplemented by big game hunting, ice-fishing and poker. Landing a job in GE’s research lab in upstate New York included a new sideline in horse race handicapping and he often talked about watching Seattle Slew train while breakfasting in the clubhouse with his daughter Beth. John and his wife, Mary (Spancake) delighted in their children Beth and John III, who shared his dad’s keen interest in hunting. When the kids drifted West for college and skiing, John and Mary dissolved their marriage and John followed them. Finding the atmosphere in Boulder in the late ’70s and early ’80s to his liking, John worked as a head hunter recruiting executive level geo-physicists, played the penny stock market whenever he got a little extra cash, and helped set up five small oil and gas companies. He met and married his second wife, Chandra (Welty) and he and his son started a business making takedown recurve bows. Wanting more big game hunting and fishing opportunities, he moved to Bozeman where he and his son established Rocky Mountain Recurves, and spent many, many months field-testing their product. Because both sides of his brain worked equally well, John designed and developed the tools, equipment and jigs for bow-making, and combined exotic woods with elegant, fluid lines to craft one-of-a-kind beautiful and highly functional bows. During this time, John began to pursue a lifelong interest in horses, becoming skilled at packing and cowboying and eventually extending that interest to day working, ranch roping, reined cow horse and reining competitions. In the late ’80s, John began making hats as a sideline. As happened with the bow business, building a few hats for friends quickly turned into a full-fledged business and in 1990, Rocky Mountain Hat Company supplanted the bow business. In recent years, John realized a childhood dream of walking the bush in South Africa, travelling there three times with his son and family. A fourth trip was upcoming. John knew no strangers and developed deep and enduring friendships with classmates, hunting partners, neighbors, and customers of the bow and hat businesses. His lifelong best friend, hunting and business partner was his son. A close second were his French Brittany spaniels, over whom he shot many a scotch double with his .410 hammer gun. John was a proud man, strong and capable of doing whatever he set his mind to. He took great pleasure in life, was an unfailing optimist, and never hesitated to tell his wife how much he loved her and his children and grandchildren how proud of them he was.

John was preceded in death by his parents, first wife Mary, and brother-in-law Don Markley. He is survived by his sister, Ann Markley (Camp Hill, Pennsylvania); wife Chandra; son John III (Brigitte); daughter Elizabeth Anne “Beth” Chewning (Pat, Portland, Oregon); grandchildren Scott Chewning, Lisa Chewning, Stephan Morris (Alisa), and Ceara Chewning; great-grandchildren Archer and Hunter Chewning; nieces Michelle Rubin (Jay) and Karen Will (Brent); nephews Bill and Pete Markley (Melissa); and 10 great-nieces and –nephews, all of Pennsylvania."

My son read this fitting cowboy poem at his Memorial:

Ride With Him Again

He done checked his gear's condition,
His cowboy hat was on just right.
His mount was prancing nervously,
'Fore he cinched that saddle up tight.

Today's his longest journey,
And it's been coming for a while.
Though he knows it's hard departing,
He'll be starting with a smile.

He spoke his piece to children,
While he softly held his wife,
And he said to those who'd listen,
She was the best thing in his life.

A braver man there wasn't,
When life would challenge him with trouble.
He would charge into the fray,
And do the right thing on the double.

But the Trail Boss called his number,
And the White Steed couldn't wait.
It was time to ride those hooves of starfire,
'Til they reached the Pearly Gate.

So he left us at his bedside,
Watching over him with love.
And he spurred that Spirit Stallion,
Toward his new home up above.

Well, we'll miss that long tall cowboy,
Maybe tear up now and then.
But we know we'll see him someday,
And ride the range with him again.

by Lincoln Rogers

Benny Holiday

My Mail is Forwarded Here
Sydney Australia
Very sad to hear that, John. What a great tribute to your father. Before I read the tribute, the photos showed me the man he was and way he lived. I know how much you'll miss him - I still miss my Dad 22 years after his passing - but, at the same time, how proud you must be of him. Condolences to you and the family.

Michael R.

Call Me a Cab
West Tennessee USA
Sorry for your Loss , that was a touching tribute and memorial to an extraordinary man and his incredible life . I know your Dad will be missed , but always be in your heart and memories . May he rest in LORD JESUS MESSIAH .
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I'll Lock Up
That was a fitting tribute to a great man. Condolences, sir. My own father passed at 78, too, and this wonderful eulogy brought back a lot of memories for me.

Art Fawcett

Sponsoring Affiliate
Central Point, Or.
I'm so sorry John, although I only knew him briefly, I had a great deal of respect for him and yourself. Spending time with the two of you and learning what you offered along with your father was invaluable to me , helping shape my learning curve. I will always be grateful, and will remember always. If there is something I can do to make life easier, please feel free to call.


Practically Family
Condolences to you and your family.
Thank you for taking the time to share this.
I remember your posts well.

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