“The back door was pushed open, as a farmer-gentleman in a snap brim hat lifted a 30-dozen egg crate into the grocery store, to exchange for another crate.”
That’s our initial reflection of Mr. Morrison, who became and remains our dearest-closet mentor.
It was the late ’50s, and the agriculture instructor borrowed un-candled eggs for training poultry judging teams, a practice continued, when we became his student.
Lots of water under the bridges, in the half century since, we remembered during Mr. Morrison’s 87th birthday celebration at his Concordia ranch.
Tribulation has certainly never been lacking. But, through the lowest to the best, love for God, family, agriculture and training others in the profession have been Joel Gordon Morrison’s purpose of life.
To those who knew him, a farmer-preacher’s son in the Four Mile community, he’s Gordie, as some early-day students also call him. More-recent acquaintances acknowledge him: Gordon, as have his wives. To us, he’s always Mr. Morrison.
Memories continue as a grade-schooler we delivered groceries to Mr. Morrison, our Sunday School teacher; we were his poorest student, never having our assigned Bible verses memorized.
Entering high school, we enrolled in Mr. Morrison’s vo-ag class, while our life’s direction was set in motion.
Successes during those four years brought Mr. Morrison opportunity to advance his agriculture teaching profession to a junior college, moving family from his hometown community.
Illness struck wife Jean, as her passing crushed Mr. Morrison and their three daughters, just when career appeared brightest.
Forever adapting, Mr. Morrison married May, and brought her daughter and son to be part of their family.
Superiority as teachers garnered honors and most-respectful appreciation to Mr. Morrison and May, who moved to the country, building a sizeable farming-ranching operation, after retirement.
May’s sudden death reeled Mr. Morrison again, yet faith prevailed, and Janet became his loving, guiding bride.
Students from more than four decades have set up a scholarship in recognition of Mr. Morrison’s service.
One hundred fifty from close and faraway gathered for his birthday, definite tribute to a man’s full life lived helping others.
Reminds us of James 5:10: “Take the old prophets as your mentors. They put up with anything, went through everything, and never once quit, all the time honoring God. What a gift life is to those who stay the course.”