Frank Morris


Posted: Sunday, January 06, 2008

Longtime Juneau resident Frank Morris died Jan. 4, 2008, in Douglas. He was 86.

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Born Nov. 29, 1921, to Jack and Gladys Morris, he began work at the Kennecott Copper Mine, where his father operated and maintained the tram system. After the Kennecott Mine closed, his family moved to Cordova, where his father worked for the Bremner Gold Mines near McCarthy.

He graduated from Cordova High School in 1940. Beginning at age 16, during the summer months, he worked for the Alaska Road Commission.

He played a key role in the initial construction of the Taylor Highway, reconstruction of portions of the Richardson and Alaska Highways, and the Kougarok Highway near Nome.

After statehood, when the Federal Bureau of Public Roads, locally known as the Alaska Road Commission, turned over highway operations to the new state government, he continued highway engineering work with the BPR, and his activities covered the New England states, New York, New Jersey and Puerto Rico.

He returned to Alaska in 1968 and planted his roots in Juneau, where he was hired by the Alaska Department of Highways. He and his wife, Cynthia, built a home in Douglas, where he spent the next four decades.

He later worked for the city of Juneau and the Bureau of Indian Affairs. For many years, he continued an engineering consulting and surveying business. As a registered civil engineer and land surveyor, he was active in the Juneau chapter of the American Society of Civil Engineers and once served as vice president of the chapter.

He first joined the Pioneers of Alaska in the 1950s in Nome and is a life member of Igloo #1. In 1997, he was elected 82nd Grand President of the Pioneers. He was a past member of the Nome Chamber of Commerce; served on the board of directors of the Nome Rotary Club; was a past member of the Fairbanks Rotary Club; and was a member of the American Military Engineers and the Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association.

He was preceded in death by his son Paul, his second wife, Cynthia, and his brother Bruce.

He is survived by his wife, Jeanne Morris; sister, Lyle Schindling and her husband, Bob; sister-in-law, Sue Morris; children, Deverick Martin, Virginia Calloway and her husband, Roger, and Allyn Morris and his wife, Michelle; stepchildren, Gail Hunter and Paul Elliott; and grandchildren, Alec and Jacob Calloway, and Jack and Danielle Morris.

Funeral Mass will be at noon Saturday, Jan. 12, at Juneau's Cathedral of the Nativity of the Blessed Virgin Mary. A reception will follow in St. Ann's Hall.

Since he was allergic to flowers, the family requests that in lieu of flowers, donations to Hospice and Homecare of Juneau, 419 6th St., Juneau, AK, 99801, or the charity of your choice, in his remembrance.

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