Obituary: Morris, S.J., Rev. John J.
Rev. John J., S.J. “Jack”
Fr. John “Jack” Morris, SJ died September 30, 2012, at the Jesuit infirmary in Spokane after a long battle with cancer. Filled with boundless energy, joy, and enthusiasm, Jack opened the eyes and hearts of countless people to the love and activity of God in the world by focusing on the love and service of one’s neighbor. The second of three brothers, John James Morris was born in Anaconda, MT on October 22, 1927 to John and Violet (Murphy) Morris. After high school Jack served in the U.S. Navy before attending Georgetown University and Regis College (Denver). He entered the Jesuit Novitiate at Sheridan, OR, in August 1950. After the regular course of studies and teaching, Jack was ordained a priest on June 16, 1962, in Spokane.
A man of ideas, dreams, and passion, Fr. Morris created opportunities for people to make a difference in the world based on gospel values. Using a nascent project at Copper Valley School in Glennallen, Alaska, in the late 1950s he organized and named the Jesuit Volunteer Corps movement. This widely acclaimed program places young adults into settings among the poorest and powerless, challenging them to see and address unjust social structures, to live in a simple community, and to put their faith into action. Working with Catholic Charities of Seattle in the early 1980s, he helped found the Senior Chore Service, the largest entity providing assistance to low-income seniors. A lasting legacy was his work for world-wide peace. Fr. Jack gathered a handful of peace pilgrims in 1982 and walked from Bangor Naval Base in Bremerton, WA to Bethlehem, Israel, to draw attention to the dilemma of nuclear weapons. In the 1990s he was sent to Uganda, Africa to work in the refugee camps and to help direct retreats and recovery programs. Fr. Morris returned to the U.S. in 2002 and did parish work at Rockaway, OR until poor health necessitated his retirement.
Fr. Morris is survived by his older brother Patrick (Bethesda, MD), younger brother Robert (Anaconda, MT), numerous nephews and nieces, cousins, and friends as well as his brother Jesuits of the Oregon Province.
A vigil service will be held at 7:00pm, Friday, October 5, at the Jesuit House Chapel on the Gonzaga University campus. The funeral Mass will be 10:00 am, Saturday, October 6, at St. Aloysius Church. Burial will follow at the Oregon Province Cemetery. Contributions in honor of Fr. Jack Morris, SJ, may be sent to Jesuit Volunteer Corps Northwest (P.O. Box 3928, Portland, OR 97208) and/or The Oregon Province Society of Jesus (P.O. Box 86010, Portland, OR 97286). Arrangements have been entrusted to Ball and Dodd Funeral Home, 5100 W. Wellesley, Spokane, WA.