The Fence Post obituaries: James Ray Morrison
James Ray Morrison, 85
Oct. 22, 1934 – May 7, 2019
James Ray Morrison, of Franktown, Colo., died peacefully on May 7, 2019, in Swedish Hospital surrounded by family.
Known as Jim, Dad, BUG (Big Ugly Grandpa) and Peepaw to those close to him, Jim Morrison was no ordinary man. Trying to distill his life into a few dates and facts on a page is like trying to describe the ocean while referring to a cup of salt water — It completely misses the point.
But let’s start with the basics for those who just want a synopsis. Jim was born in the usual manner in Denver on Oct. 22, 1934, to Florence Alice Winn and Homer Berry Morrison. He was the youngest of five children (Dorothy, Dick, Barry, Barbara). Jim was devoted to his mother throughout her life. He grew up in north Denver and attended West High School. Jim’s primary career was in the union plumbing trade although he did a two-year stint in the army, taught apprenticeship school, served on the State Plumbing Board and was an estimator, foreman, building inspector and business owner over the course of his work history. Jim was married to Fran Morrison, raised four children and spent most of his adult life in the home he built in Franktown, Colo., (50 years).
Jim is survived by his wife Fran Morrison and four children, James (Dodi) Morrison of Centennial, Colo., Lisa (Rick) Randall of Greenfield, Ind., David Morrison of Aurora, Colo., and Laura (Ashley) Fryer of Carnation, Wash. Jim also leaves behind four grandchildren (Annie, Julia, Dustin and Bill), two great-grandchildren (Micah and Lenore), and his sisters Dorothy Cady and Barbara Powell as well as many nieces and nephews.
To truly know the man, though, you have to dig a little deeper into his story. His life was focused on family, work and cars. He lived out his belief that “any job worth doing is worth doing well” and never allowed others to define his limits. He recognized that others “put their pants on one leg at a time” just like he did. Simply put, Jim lived the American Dream: he started with very little but through hard work and a belief in himself, he was able to achieve remarkable things and retire comfortably in his old age.
Jim had a lifetime fascination with cars from his early years where he fixed-up and raced stock and sport cars for fun through his retirement years when he was finally able to restore a 39 Ford pick-up, a 68 Mustang and a 39 Ford standard coupe. He had a lifetime of stories to share about makes, models and the “ones that got away.”
Jim met the love of his life, Fran, on a blind date and celebrated over 58 years of marriage with her. He was fiercely proud of her spunk and was unswervingly loyal to her until he passed.
Jim was a terrific dad. Part-time medic, king of the school science project, teacher, drill sargent, consummate storyteller, and toy assembler, he taught his children to work hard, do a job right the first time and stick up for each other. Although he worked a full-time job, taught apprenticeship classes in the evenings and worked to finish the house, he also carved out time to play board games and take his family fishing, hiking, camping and snowmobiling.
Helping others was as natural as breathing for Jim. He regularly stopped to help stranded motorists on the side of the road or dropped by a neighbor’s home to help them with a plumbing problem or automotive repair. Jim was generous with his time, his heart, and his know-how. He will be missed by all who knew him.
In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to: Cornell Lab of Orinthology, National Wildlife Federation or a charity of your choice.