(1941 - 2022): Age 81
Randy Morrison, born Charles Randall Morrison in the oil patches of Burkburnett, Texas in 1941, died of respiratory failure due to COPD at his home in Sierra Vista, Arizona on March 2, 2022 at the age of 81.
His very earliest years were spent happily in the company of his mother, aunts, and grandfather—his father and uncles were off in Europe and the Pacific defending the nation. When the men returned everyone hunkered down to restart normal lives. The arrival of Randy’s brother Pat and sister Sharon completed the family. Moves in Texas and Oklahoma followed as Randy’s father finished his college education, which resulted in a move to Des Moines, New Mexico in the high plains of the northeastern corner of the state. One more move brought the family to Moriarty, New Mexico as Randy entered high school. His father wisely made sure that his children did not idle about and as a result Randy acquired much experience, among other pursuits, in baling hay, sorting shelves at the general store, and mucking out pig barns. He read every book in the Moriarty High School library. He was a forward on the basketball team (voted “best legs” by the female classmates) and in his senior year the team lost only one, but critical, game (31-1) and so missed going to state.
Randy entered McMurray College in Abilene, Texas in 1959. A bit unclear about his goals in life, after his sophomore year he enlisted in the Army, which assigned him to ASA (Army Security Agency) and sent him off to Korea despite the fact that he would have preferred Vietnam, where he heard that tailors could whip up bespoke outfits. Released from service early to enter the University of New Mexico, Randy discovered he had interest and talent for archaeology. The summer of 1966 he was a T.A. on a dig in Sapawe, New Mexico when he was smitten by an undergraduate who was a very competent digger. That was Marion, whom he married later that year. They finished their degrees together at UNM, graduating in 1968. Not satisfied with full-time work at New Mexico Health and Social Services, Randy decamped to Arizona State University to enter a masters program in archaeology and later transferred to the University of Arizona in Tucson. M.A. in hand, and wife and first daughter Catherine India trailing, In 1975, he worked on the Chaco Project, excavating site 29SJ 1360. Randy took a position as archaeologist with the New Mexico Highway Department in Santa Fe; daughter Elizabeth was born there. He soon was in Albuquerque working and traveling all over the state for the Bureau of Land Management. An opportunity to become NPS Park Archaeologist at Chaco Canyon arose, and he worked there for three years in the 1980s before joining the Bureau of Indian Affairs in cultural resources management in Tempe, AZ. All the while he continued reading, amassing information on the Southwest and much else, and gathering up friends who liked to chew the fat as much as he did. He devoted time and loving interest to the upbringing of his daughters.
In the 1990s Randy served on the Tempe Historical Museum Advisory Board and the Historic Preservation Commission. He was an active member of the Scottish-American Honor Guard (also in the early 2000s). He was Clan Morrison convener at the Phoenix Highland Games.
In 1995 Randy retired from federal service to earn his PhD in Public Administration. Teaching positions followed. He taught graduate courses in Japan and Korea with Troy State University (contracted with the U. S. Army) where he found great satisfaction mentoring and shaping the careers of many soldiers. Stateside once again, he taught in New Orleans and Florida before taking a position as a contractor associated with the Training and Doctrine Command at Ft. Huachuca, Sierra Vista, Arizona; he was designated Senior Instructor by the U.S. Army Intelligence Center & Ft. Huachuca. The work of educating soldiers and officers in the cultural knowledge needed to accomplish missions was the focus of his efforts. In 2012 Randy was fortunate enough to apply his skills as a social scientist in Afghanistan, long a part of the world of great interest to him.
From 2013 on Randy was completely retired and spent much time and energy in Towed Hall, his workshop and garage, attending to a Triumph GT6. Inexorable COPD diminished his energy but not his interests.
Randy leaves behind his wife Marion of 55 years; his daughter Catherine India and her husband Tom and their son—his grandson—Hector; and his daughter Elizabeth and her husband Carl. His brother Pat and sister Sharon and their families also mourn his passing.
Charles Randall Morrison willed his body to the University of Arizona medical school. When his ashes are returned to us we will place a cenotaph at a family cemetery in Gotebo, Oklahoma.
Raise a cup to his memory—he treasured you all. Thanks to wife, Marion Morrison for this history.