George Philip “Phil” Morris passed away on Tuesday, October 8, 2019 at Cottage Grove Place at the age of 94. Among his many accomplishments, he was a longtime community leader in Marion, IA and president of 1st National Bank.
Visitation will be on Sunday, October 13, 2019 from 4 to 7pm at the Cedar Memorial Park Funeral Home. Services will be held at the Cedar Memorial Chapel of Memories on Monday, October 14, 2019 at 11am. Burial will be later at the family plot in Keota, IA.
Phil is survived by his devoted wife of 70 years, Darlene; two sons, Dr. Michael (Michele) Morris of Tampa, FL, and Douglas (Michelle) Morris of Woodbury, MN; five grandchildren, Brett (fiancé Courtney) of West Palm Beach, FL, Dr. Adam Morris of Tampa, FL, Dr. Alissa Morris (fiancé Jared) of Houston, TX, Amanda and Olivia Morris of Woodbury, MN; two nephews, Bruce (Joelle) Underwood of Woodruff, WI, Brent Underwood of Cupertino, CA; and niece Becky (Allen) Wilcox of Carlisle, IA. He is proceeded in death by his parents, brother-in-law, Richard Underwood, and sister-in-law, Beverly Underwood.
Phil was born July 27, 1925 in the Washington Iowa County Hospital, the only child of H.B. Morris DVM and Mabel Stevenson Morris. He graduated from Keota High School in 1943 and was drafted into the U.S. Army that same year, shortly after his eighteenth birthday. He served in the U.S. Army 163rd Infantry Regiment, 41st Division, in the Southwest Pacific during WWII. He was recalled into service in September of 1950 for the Korean War and was sent to Fort Lewis, WA and then overseas to the Japanese Logistical Headquarters in Sasebo, Japan. He returned home in July, 1951. In the years between serving in WWII and the Korean War, Phil twice served on the Keota School Board, attended AIC Business College in Davenport, IA, and subsequently graduated from the School of Banking in Madison, WI. Phil and Darlene were married on April 10, 1949 at the Little Brown Church in Nashua, IA.
Phil’s career culminated with him serving as president of the First National Bank (now Wells Fargo) from 1961 to 1983. In 1967 the Marion Jaycees honored Phil as ‘Boss of the Year’. He enjoyed being involved in public projects and promotions; First National Bank was the first bank in the area to offer Bank Mastercard, the forerunner of Visa credit cards. In an earlier project, as president of the Chamber of Commerce in 1956, Phil organized a drive to raise funds to place street signs throughout Marion. And again, in 1958, as president of the Chamber of Commerce, Phil was instrumental in the installation of the ‘Marion’ sign located on city property in front of McDonalds. Phil was on the Board of Directors of Elmcrest Country Club, a member of the Salvation Army Advisory Board, and the Project Independence Board. He and Darlene were members of the First Presbyterian Church in Marion for over fifty years. Phil also served as an elder of the church.
Other memberships include the University of Iowa President’s Club, Masonic Lodge No. 6 in Marion, Scottish Rite, KCCH, Royal Order of Jesters, American Legion Post #298 and the Linn County Historical Society. Phil was active in the El Kahir Shrine Color Guard and served as the Unit President. He supported the start of the El Kahir Arabian Horse Unit and was co-sponsor of the Cadillac Convertible Car Unit with Wally Luedtke.
Phil participated in many fund raising drives; he and Mr. Elmer Brinkman worked together to raise $160,000 for Alzheimer’s research from other Scottish Rite Masons. In another endeavor, Phil formed the Northeast Business Association as a lobbying group to promote the Highway 100 Marion bypass, which he described as “the highest profile” project, but one that took the longest to bring to fruition – “decades in fact”.
Phil played a major role in the founding of Cottage Grove Place; he was a charter member of the Board of Trustees and remained on the board until his death.
It would be an understatement to say that Phil was an avid reader, he read all types of literature – his interests were expansive. He was a huge fan of the Iowa Hawkeyes and attended games for many years.
After retirement, Phil and Darlene spent their winters in Fountain Hills, AZ, where he was a member of the ‘Club’, Masonic Square Club, Fountain Hills Historical Society and a lifetime member of the VFW Post 7507 in Fountain Hills. Phil played golf more for the social benefits than for the love of the sport, however, as luck would have it, he shot a hole in one at Alta Mesa Country Club in Mesa, AZ.
Memorials may be sent to El Kahir Shrine to support Shriners Hospitals for Children, 905 Tower Terrace Road, Hiawatha, IA 52233 or Camp Courageous, 12007 190th Street, PO Box 418, Monticello, IA 52310 or the charity of the donor’s choice.