JARS v9n1 - In Memoriam: Elmer Morris

In Memoriam: Elmer Morris

Elmer Morris died suddenly at his home in Wall Township, New Jersey, on Monday, August 22, 1994. He opened his rhododendron nursery in the early 1970s following retirement from his job of 32 years at Fort Monmouth, N.J. During those early years, he and his brother, Ray, were instrumental in the development of the Jersey Speed Skiff, racing locally and in New York where he was born.

Elmer died just two weeks short of his 81st birthday. He was a charter member of the Princeton Chapter as well as a longtime member of the Camellia Society. An avid hybridizer and noted propagator, he eagerly sought choice varieties hardy in the East for his small nursery. A reputation as the source of rare Dexters and Swarthmores grew steadily. Some specialty nurseries trace their stock plant acquisitions to Elmer.

His horticultural interests were broad: conifers, perennials, holly, hardy cacti and camellias especially interested him. But, above all, Elmer loved rhododendrons. He never stopped learning nor lacked enthusiasm. His latest hybrid, a stunning yellow, will be registered as 'Elizabeth Lee' for his wife, Libby, whom he lost in 1992. When propagated, plants will be located at the home of his daughter, Diane, his son, Tommy, and at the Mercer County Community College garden maintained by the Princeton Chapter. In this way, our members can remember him. Surely they will miss him.