Wells F. "Bud" Morris Jr. (1921 - 2012)

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Wells F. "Bud" Morris, Jr. died peacefully on Friday morning, May 4, at the Madison Valley Hospital in Ennis, Mont. at the age of 90.

Bud was born in Oxnard, Calif. on May 6, 1921. He grew up in the Los Angeles area, and attended the Robert Louis Stevenson (RLS) Academy in Pebble Beach, Calif. and then on to the University of California at Los Angeles (UCLA). His studies were interrupted by World War II. He served in the U.S. Army Air Corps as a bomber navigator, mostly in the European theater. He loved horses, and competed for a position on the 1948 Olympic team, and was a long-time supporter of the U.S. Equestrian Association.

On Oct. 28, 1953 he married Lucille "Lu" Taylor, who at the time owned and operated a restaurant in Monterey, Calif. In 1955, Bud and Lu struck out for Billings, Mont. In 1957 they moved to West Yellowstone, where they bought the Parade Rest Guest Ranch. They hosted people from all over the world, until they retired in 1980. The ranch guest books tell the story. They are brimming with accolades from appreciative guests, many of whom returned year after year for the Morris hospitality. Johnny France who ran the horse operations and a friend for more than 50 years stated that "In all those years I have never heard one single person speak badly of Bud Morris, and vice versa."

Upon retirement in 1980, they returned to California. In 1983, they built a home on the Madison River near Ennis, where they were to live the rest of their lives. Lu died of emphysema in 1988 at age 69. Bud, too, battled with emphysema, and was finally felled by a massive stroke, a few days before his death.

Bud is survived by his two stepsons, Terry Taylor of Cold Springs, Calif. and Ridley Taylor of Gold Beach, Ore.

Bud will be remembered for many things including his wisdom and sense of humor. He was a strong advocate for the environment and an early member of Trout Unlimited in Montana. He dedicated land for open space through the Nature Conservancy. But most of all, Bud will be remembered for his integrity. There were no half-truths in his life. And there was only one way to do something, and that was the right way. Finally, Bud was a mesmerizing story teller. There was no better way to end a day than to listen to Bud tell his stories around a campfire or overlooking the Madison River, with the Madison Range standing approvingly in the distance. Thank you and God bless you Bud.

In lieu of flowers, Bud would have appreciated donations in his memory to Trout Unlimited and the Nature Conservancy.

Funeral services will be held Friday, May 11, at 11 a.m. from the K&L Mortuary Chapel at Ennis. Interment will be in the Fir Ridge Cemetery at West Yellowstone.
Funeral Home
K & L Mortuaries
109 West Second
Whitehall, MT 59759
(406) 287-3271
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Published in Bozeman Daily Chronicle on May 8, 2012
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