O. Morris Sievert, a well-known San Diego community leader and philanthropist, died March 19 in La Jolla, California. Raised in Missouri, he earned a Bachelor of Mechanical Engineering Degree in 1944 at the Missouri University of Science & Technology. In 1959, he graduated from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Program for Senior Executives.|
He served in the United States Navy from 1944 to 1946 aboard a ship in the Pacific as a Lieutenant JG, was involved in the liberation of the Philippines and continued his service in the Navy Reserves after the war. He was a staunch and generous advocate for veterans throughout his life.
Throughout his distinguished career as an engineer, corporate executive and pioneering leader in gas turbine engine design and manufacturing, Morris contributed to the development of technological advancements in the aerospace and oil and gas industries. He played a significant role in the economic development of San Diego.
When Morris came to the Solar Aircraft Company in 1957, its management had already concluded the company's best future business opportunity was to produce industrial gas turbine engines for the oil industry, and gave him that goal.
For the next 25 years, Morris led Solar Aircraft Company's strategic growth from an aerospace subcontractor to one of the world's leading manufacturers of industrial gas turbine engines, serving as President of Solar Aircraft and Vice President of International Harvester. In 1974 Solar changed its name to Solar Turbines International and Morris became its President. Today the company is a subsidiary of Caterpillar with revenues of more than 3 billion dollars annually.
After retiring from Solar in 1986, Morris continued his executive career, first with Nucorp Energy as Vice Chairman, Oilfield Manufacturing, Service & Supply and then with Deposition Technology, where he served as chairman of the board, CEO and president.
Committed to the San Diego community, Morris twice served as president of the United Way of San Diego County. He was a member of many boards including Scripps Memorial Hospital, San Diego Gas and Electric Co., the San Diego Chamber of Commerce, California Chamber of Commerce, California Manufacturers Association and Economic Development Corporation. He also served as a trustee of the University of San Diego and National University and was a member of Q.E.D.
He was particularly proud of the role he played in the development of the San Diego Holiday Bowl. He was named President of the 1991 Bowl Game.
In his leisure activities he loved golfing at the La Jolla Country Club and was an ardent fresh water and ocean fisherman.
He is preceded in death by his wife of 60 years La Wanda Hughes and survived by his wife Eloise "Dudie" Ogden Sievert, four daughters: Karen Baker, Tomball, Texas; Kathy Guccione, Encino, California; Kristie Sievert, Portland, Oregon; and Kimberly Wheeler, San Diego, California; and eight grandchildren and nine great grandchildren.
A memorial celebration for Morris will be held on Wednesday, April 16, from 4 to 6 p.m. at the La Jolla Country Club. In lieu flowers, please send donations to Scripps Memorial Hospital Hospi
Published in La Jolla Light on Apr. 10, 2014