Heaven welcomed Richard Theodore Morrison to his new life at 11:44 a.m. Thursday, Feb. 14, 2008, following a long illness. He began his mortal life on April 3, 1930, in Cleveland, Ohio, the second son of George and Mary (Krause) Morrison.
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After high school, Richard got his bachelor's and master's degrees in English literature from Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland. He was working on his doctorate at Yale when his father died, and he returned home to care for his ailing mother. He got his teaching credentials at Kent State University and taught fifth grade until his mother died, whereupon he decided to pursue a lifelong dream of becoming an actor. He moved to California and enrolled in the Pasadena Playhouse School of Drama. After graduation, Richard acted at night in the theater, and got a day job as a social worker in Hollywood where he met Phyllis, the love of the rest of his life. They married in 1965.
Richard then pursued a master's degree in social work at UCLA, and then Phyllis did the same at the University of Hawaii where they spent an idyllic two years and made many lifelong friends. While there, Richard worked as a counselor at Queen's Medical Center, and also acted in five episodes of "Hawaii 5-0." They returned to southern California and worked for the state mental institutions until retirement in 1987. Richard continued to act in television, theater and movies during this time. This came to an end when he was diagnosed with heart disease and Parkinson's disease in 1998.
Richard and Phyllis resided in Laguna Niguel in Orange County, Calif., for eight years, and in the summer of 2007 moved to Belgrade. Richard moved into Elsie's Assisted Living, and Phyllis moved in with her daughter and son-in-law.
Richard will be remembered as a brilliant raconteur, a voracious reader, a lover of opera, classical music and fine food, for a sharp wit, and as a keen gamesman, especially chess. He was generous and helpful to family and friends, and we could always rely on his encyclopedic mind when there was a question about anything!
Preceding him in death were his parents and older brother, Dr. David Morrison.
Richard is survived by his beloved wife, Phyllis, and stepdaughter, Aeryn (Bruce F.) Hanson, all of rural Belgrade; stepson, Dr. Michael (Sydney) Janoff of Anaheim, Calif.; step-grandchildren, Daniel Hanson of Tulsa, Okla.; Dr. James Hanson of Madison, Wis.; and Drs. Michelle and Kevan Lewis and their sons of Rhode Island; a niece and nephews and their children of Cleveland, Ohio.
No services are planned at this time.
Arrangements are in the care of Dokken-Nelson Funeral Service.
Dokken-Nelson Funeral Service
113 South Willson Avenue
Bozeman, MT 59715
Published in Bozeman Daily Chronicle on Feb. 22, 2008