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Obituary: Earl Dillman Morris, Architect


February 5, 2009

Earl D. Morris of Edmonds passed away of natural causes at age 85 on January 23, 2009. Earl was preceded in death by his wife of 32 years, Martha Erskine Morris.

Earl is survived by his sons and their wives, Gay E. Morris and Ingrid S. Morgan of Seattle, Hugh F. Morris and Michelle K. Morris of Harrison, Arkansas. He leaves behind his sister, Jane Orner of Edmonds, and three generations of nieces and nephews who affectionately knew Earl as Uncle Bud.

Earl was born in South Bend, Indiana on May 2, 1923, the fourth child of Earl Morris and Grace Sykes Morris.

The family moved to Yakima in 1926, spent summers at a cabin north of Edmonds and moved there permanently in 1936. Earl attended Edmonds schools from 7th grade and graduated from Edmonds High School in 1941.

Staff Sergeant Morris served in the U.S. Army from 1943-1945 during World War II in the Pacific. He attended the University of Washington, graduating from the School of Architecture in 1951.

Earl began building his own house in 1949 on land he purchased from his father. Earl met Martha in 1952 and they were married at his house on May 29th after a brief three week courtship. Martha grew up in Nebraska and studied Art in Dayton, Chicago and Paris before joining her family in Seattle.

Together this Architect and Artist couple enjoyed wonderful lives which included raising two boys, learning to sail, spending summer vacations on Puget Sound and taking a 25th anniversary trip to Paris. Earl joined the Episcopal Church after designing St. Albans in Edmonds.

He practiced historic preservation, saving antique doors, windows, woodwork and fireplaces from about-to-be demolished historic Seattle homes, artifacts incorporated into his own home and other buildings.

Earl ran the Pioneer Courthouse restoration in Portland for GSA and was instrumental in initiating the Art in Architecture program for Federal Buildings. Earl was guardian of the 1860 Ferry House at Ebeys Landing for 44 years.

After Marthas passing in 1984, Earl remained outgoing, continuing his study of architecture and gardening through organizations such as Historic Seattle.

He became a patron of the musical arts: his favorite gathering would be a musicale where an accomplished pianist or vocalist would perform at his home for a group of friends. Earl loved the architecture and gardens of Europe, particularly Paris, which he visited five times after his first trip with Martha in 1977.

Earl enjoyed a round-the-world cruise in 2002 but returned home more convinced than ever that he had all he needed right here family, friends and a house on the land his father discovered overlooking Puget Sound.

A funeral will be held at 10:00 AM Monday February 9, 2009 at the Henry Chapel in The Highlands. The burial ceremony will be the same day at 2:00 PM at Sunnyside Cemetery, reception following at Hilltop, 164 Cemetery Road, Coupeville.


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