John Miller Morris, Jr.
| John Miller Morris, Jr.|
(Geographer at the
|Born|| October 10, 1952 |
Amarillo, Randall County
|Died|| February 16, 2017 (aged 64) |
San Antonio, Texas
Morris was reared in Amarillo, Texas, where his mother was an elementary school teacher. His family business, the C. B. Morris Company, was among the first family farm corporations in the state. As a youth, he attained the rank of Eagle Scout. He received a Bachelor of Arts; two master's degrees, one in community planning and the other in Slavic languages, and the Ph.D. in geography and planning. All of his studies were at the University of Texas at Austin, at which he also competed in fencing.
His study El Llano Estacado is the definitive 2003 work on the history, geography, peoples, and culture of the region of West Texas known as the "Staked Plains". He also authored A Private in the Texas Rangers: A. T. Miller of Company B, Frontier Battalion and Taming the Land: The Lost Postcard Photographs of the Texas High Plains.
He procured awards from the regents at the University of Texas for "Outstanding Teaching" and the Minnie Stevens Piper professorship for his teaching and academic achievement. UTSA Dean Dan Gelo said that Morris brought "an infectious enthusiasm and abundance of energy to the classroom, and it's not unusual for students to [have taken] multiple courses from him because they enjoyed his teaching so much. He also is [was] a challenging teacher. His courses and grading standards are [were] known to be difficult, making [his] consistently positive student evaluations all the more impressive." He was a member of the Texas Institute of Letters, the Texas State Historical Association, and the West Texas Historical Association. At the time of his death in San Antonio from complications of surgery, he was the outgoing president of the WTHA and had been preparing for the annual meeting April 7–8 in Lubbock.
He was active in clean-up drives in his Austin neighborhood and the surrounding area of Ranch-to-Market 2222. He worked to improve and expand the hiking trail at Long Canyon. He served numerous terms on his homeowner's association board. He worked with developers to assure that buildings would be as unobtrusive as possible in line with the beauty of the scenic Texas Hill Country. He spent years restoring a 140-year-old Victorian house that he rescued from demolition and moved to the hills and woods of west Austin.
- Rebecca Luther (May 15, 2012). John Miller Morris is named 2012 Piper Professor. University of Texas at San Antonio. Retrieved on March 6, 2017.
- John Miller Morris, Jr.. Austin American-Statesman (March 5, 2017).
- (2001) A Private in the Texas Rangers. Texas A&M University Press. ISBN 9780890969649.
- (2009) Taming the Land: The Lost Postcard Photographs of the Texas High Plains. Texas A&M University Press. ISBN 9781603440370. Retrieved on March 6, 2017.