Merrill Mark Morris
Mark Morris, age 90, of Willard, passed away Tuesday, October 1, 2013. He was born to Ernest and Grace (Hammond) Morris, May 5, 1923, in Rockford, IL. Mark and his wife, Marlene, have been together for over 47 years. At age 16, Mark drove a transport truck for a poultry goods company, traveling 10,000 miles per month. In 1942 Mark joined the Army, during World War II. He served in the 123rd Infantry Regiment, and was in the Asiatic-Pacific Theatre, under General MacArthur. Mark was captured by the Japanese Army, and was held as a prisoner of war for 88 days, until he and several others escaped. He was the fifth man to land on the beach of Luzon, Philippines. Mark was one of 88 men to recapture the Army-Navy Hospital in the Philippines, freeing over 300 soldiers and hospital staff. General MacArthur referred to Mark as "Blondie", and had worked together. Mark and the General became friends. Mark earned the Purple Heart and the Bronze Star but refused to accept them. After the war Mark was the Fire Chief in Nevada, Iowa, and was responsible for the department obtaining the first fire engine there. In his spare time Mark was an auctioneer. Mark was a real estate broker and owned Land and Home Real Estate Company in Springfield. He was a well known and respected loan officer. He and Marlene also owned Prime Mortgage. He was involved in the building of the Plaza Towers, and many other landmark sites. When Mark retired he worked as a security guard at Prime Trucking for many years. Mark enjoyed cattle farming all of his life and had a show farm north of Willard. Mark was a friend to all, whether he knew you or not. He was always there to lend a hand, one being Elvis Presley when Elvis was stranded in Diamond, MO.
Mark is survived by his wife, Marlene; daughter Karen (Sullivan) Campbell and husband Gene, of Republic; his children from a previous marriage, David, Lynn, and Sharon; a granddaughter Rylee Campbell; sisters Margie Wendell and husband Glen, Helen Case and husband Charles, and a host of family and friends. Mark was preceded in death by his parents and a grandson.
Memorial donations in lieu of flowers may be made to C.A.R.E Animal Rescue, 1328-A West Sunshine Springfield, MO 65807, (417) 875-6565, www.carerescue.org.
A funeral service will be held at 2:00 P.M., Friday, October 4, 2013, in Hood United Methodist Church, Republic, with Pastor Monty Stratton officiating. Visitation will be held from 1:00 P.M. until service time in the church. Burial will follow in Mt. Carmel Cemetery, near Clever, with full military honors. Arrangements are under the care of Adams Funeral Home, Nixa.
Published in the News-Leader on Oct. 3, 2013