Robert Morris, 88, of Billings, passed away on May 21, 2021, a resident of Arbor Village Senior Living in Kent, Washington.
Robert “Bob” Norman Morris was born in Beach, North Dakota, on Oct. 5, 1932. Bob was the daughter of Dennison Lee and Arva (Gilmore) Morris. He grew up on his parents’ farm and learned from his father the properties of land that made it well-suited to agricultural use. Bob knew the name of every noxious weed that grew in Montana and taught them to his children on the camping trips enjoyed by the family throughout his life.
The post-war years during which Bob attended Wibaux High School were a very different time than can be imagined now. With rationing continuing, daily trips to Wibaux for classes were not a possibility. Bob boarded with respectable families in town during his school years. He told his children great tales of life in a small town in the ’40s. These were years when a teen could grab a drink at the local bar — always in a responsible manner because any shenanigans due to irresponsible behavior would surely reach the ears of their parents (probably before the day ended!).
Bob graduated from high school in 1950 and attended the Eastern Montana College before being drafted into the Army and spending a two-year tour in Korea during the Korean War. At the end of Bob’s military service, he returned to Montana and married Ruby Lindstrom in Carlyle on Aug. 28, 1955. They moved to Bozeman so Bob could finish his education. Bob graduated from Montana State University (then University of Montana) in 1957 with a degree in Agricultural Economics.
After graduation, Bob worked for International Harvester until a particularly unpleasant interaction with a deadbeat customer told him it was time to move on. Bob’s next (and last) position was in Billings with the Metropolitan Life Insurance Agricultural Investments Division. Bob remained with Metropolitan in positions of increasing responsibility, overseeing investment activity for 13 northwestern states as Northwest Branch Manager of the Farm and Ranch Mortgage Division until his retirement in 1996. In his many years with Metropolitan, Bob was known for never approving a bad loan.
Bob was a devoted husband and father, and took particular delight in his grandchildren. He is survived by sons Gary Morris of Pahrump, Nevada, and Roger Morris of Kent; daughter Traci Morris of Shepherdstown, West Virginia; one sister, Shirlee Morris of Billings; one brother, Richard Morris of Menlo Park, California; as well as six grandchildren, Dennis Morris, Robert Morris, Paige Morris, Brooke Morris, Noah Wirt and Anika Wirt; two great-grandsons; and several nieces, nephews and cousins. Bob is preceded in death by his parents and sisters, Jean (Morris) St. Cyr and Margaret (Morris) Fanning.
Visitation will be from 2 to 5 p.m. Thursday, June 3, at Michelotti-Sawyers Mortuary, 1001 Alderson Ave. Bob’s funeral service, officiated by Pastor Tim Tostengard, is scheduled for 10 a.m. Friday, June 4, at American Lutheran Church, 5 Lewis Ave., in Billings. There will be a reception immediately following at the church. Graveside services will be held at Yellowstone Valley Memorial Park in Billings at 12 noon on June 4 for all who wish to attend.
In lieu of flowers, the family suggests that memorial donations be made to St. John’s United, https://www.stjohnsunited.org/giving/donate/.