In Memoriam : Jack Morris

Jack Morris Jack Warren Morris - age: 79
(February 28, 1935 to May 04, 2014 )
Resident of Ukiah, California

Jackie Warren Morris died May 4th, 2014 after a short illness, surrounded by his children at the home of his daughter in Austin, Texas. Jack was born in Red Mound, OK, on February 28th, 1935. Like millions of other people fleeing from the Dust Bowl, his parents moved their family to the West Coast and settled in Burbank, Ca. Jack grew up running between Orange trees in the beautiful valley and watched as the city grew and expanded before his eyes. Jack showed a talent for cutting hair from an early age, and began cutting his father’s hair at the age of 13. Jack graduated from Burbank High School in 1954. After graduating, Jack became ill with Rheumatic Fever and had to stay in the hospital for a month. When he recovered he went on to Barber Collage. Many members of his extended family also migrated to the Southern California area. He would travel up and down highway 99, visiting them and drag racing any one he could. He met the love of his life, Colette Roell, and married her in 1958. Jack and Colette had three children while living in Burbank, Ca. When the Los Angeles area smog became too oppressive, they moved their family to the Ukiah Valley, as it met all their criteria: a small town that had a Catholic School, a barber shop, was smog free, and surrounded by nature’s beauty. They had their fourth child after arriving in Ukiah.

In time, Jack took over the Barber Shop at Jenson’s Truck Stop. His clients became his friends, and for over 45 years Jack enjoyed seeing people come through his doors. Stories, jokes, and straight talk filled his shop. Many a child was instructed to “sit still” on his first haircut, and many a haircut was given for free. Some of his clients were out of state truckers, waiting until their next trip to Ukiah for a haircut and a visit to “The Flat-Top King”, as Jack was affectionately known. His long career served both the young and the elderly, including house calls to friends who were unable to leave their homes. Many of his clients had children, and later those children had children, who in turn became his clients. Generations of Ukiah residents told him that they “grew up” in his barber shop. Jack had a big heart, and several life-long friends called him “The most honest man I’ve ever known“. He was very moved that his retirement was noted on the front page of the Ukiah Daily Journal to commemorate the occasion.

In his younger years, Jack embraced his inner racer, either drag racing on the “strip” in Los Angeles, on “the 99”, and later on the ¼ mile oval race track in Ukiah. In 1956 he won a drag racing trophy for having the Fastest Stock Car in Los Angeles County, his treasured 1956 Chevrolet 210 Sport Coupe. He always had one foot on the brake and the other on the gas. After recuperating from knee surgery complications that kept him away from driving for several years, he took a driving test to regain his license in December, 2013. The instructor said that he was the best driver she had ridden with in years.

As his family grew, Jack took them on day and camping trips to see all the splendors of Mendocino County, from the Coast to Lake Pillsbury, from the swimming holes of the Russian River below Hopland to an Uncle’s ranch north of Laytonville. He taught his children how to water-ski, with summer days and nights too numerous to count being spent on the waters of Lake Mendocino. The location of his shop at the truck stop gave easy access to large inner tubes, and Jack would load his pickup full of tubes and kids for excursions floating down the Russian river.

Jack and Colette were active in the community, and raised their family in the arms of St. Mary’s Catholic Church and School. Jack was a member of both the Elks Lodge and Masonic Lodge, in which he took great pride. Jack enjoyed playing in the Ukiah pool and bowling leagues. After he retired, Jack and Colette loved playing golf, and traveled in their RV around the Western United States. Their trips included visiting friends and family in TX, OK, OR, WA and Canada. He enjoyed travels with the Elks Wapitis. Jack was planning to return to Ukiah after his granddaughter, Siena, graduated in May. He was looking forward to seeing all his old friends.

Jack was preceded in death by his parents, Plomer Harold Morris and Ota Mae Miller, his beloved sister, Evelyn M. Nelson, and his cherished wife of 55 years, Colette T. Morris. He is survived by his four children, their spouses and grandchildren: David and Elaine Morris (Amanda and Heather), Dale and Kim Morris (Greg and Sara). Merrie Morris-Mazzetti and Rob Mazzetti (Siena and Cordell), and Charles and Janet Morris (Christopher and Jonathan). He leaves behind many friends and family he dearly loved.

A viewing will be at Eversole Mortuary, May 29th , from 2 to 8 P.M. The funeral will be held at St. Mary’s Catholic Church, May 30th, 11:00 AM. The burial will follow at Russian River Cemetery in Ukiah. A reception and celebration of Jack’s life will be held at The Elks Lodge following burial. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to the Elks Lodge Major Projects Fund, a charity that provides free physical therapy to disabled children.