Robert Morrison

Obituary of Robert Graham Morrison

Robert Graham “Rob” Morrison was born on April 30, 1961, in Olympia, Washington, to Dr. Robert Wilbur Morrison and Mary Jean Doane. At the time of his birth, the family lived in the nearby community of Lacey, where his father was an optometrist. His middle name honoured his father’s older brother, a Canadian pilot who died in WW II.

Later in 1960, the family moved to Enumclaw, where they lived until the mid-1990s. Just after his first birthday, Rob contracted encephalitis, which resulted in many weeks at Children’s and the University of Washington hospitals in Seattle. In 1966, the family moved to a home on Florence Street, which then lay at the edge of the city.

When Rob entered school, he spent many hours traveling to and from the Grandview School for special education, which was in the Kent School District. This K-12 school had an enrollment of 120 and served multiple districts. In 1974, his otherwise uneventful childhood was interrupted when Rob rode his bike onto busy Roosevelt Avenue and crashed through the windshield of a passing car. Another motorist with EMT training saved his life, but Rob spent a week in intensive care and had a long recovery. As a teenager, Rob joined the Boy Scouts. There he enjoyed many happy memories of day hikes and overnight camping as a part of Enumclaw Troop 422. Rob also attended numerous Special Olympics at Fort Lewis, where he participated in the 100-yard dash, shot put, and relay events.     

In 1982, Rob graduated from Grandview School. After that, Rob rented an apartment in Auburn, where he worked various jobs as a janitor and as a dish washer. He returned to Enumclaw after his father died in 1988. Rob continued to live in Enumclaw for several years after his mother passed in 1994. After this, his brother, Steven, served as his guardian. In 1996, Rob moved to Federal Way, where he resided for the next three decades. He lived in an apartment with a roommate with the assistance of MAKSU, a state-supported care team that provided life skills, financial management, and medical support. Moving to Federal Way allowed Rob to reconnect with other Grandview alumni who lived nearby or were in similar support programs.

While Rob’s life in Federal Way was low key, he enjoyed being with other people. He bowled on Monday nights, participated in “People First” events whenever he could, hung out at the local Wal-Mart, helped to set up lunches at the local Lutheran church, and enjoyed the freedom of making his own transportation arrangements, either on the bus or through Metro Access.

Rob enjoyed traveling. This likely started when his family started summer holidays to Victoria, British Columbia, to visit his father’s family. For his 18th birthday, Rob and his parents flew to Hawaii for a week of exploring. After his mother died, he and Steven visited Disneyland to see Mickey and his friends. In 2007, Rob once again ferried to Vancouver Island for a family memorial and, in 2015, even took a cruise ship to Alaska with a chaperone from MAKSU. More often the trips were closer to home: rooting for the Tacoma Rainiers or Seattle Mariners, special fishing excursions to Westport, or just seeing Leavenworth and Dry Falls in eastern Washington.

One of Rob’s greatest joys was eating out, particularly at Black Angus with his brother’s family. Christmas was his favourite time of year because Rob often got to be a bell-ringer for the Salvation Army. Although his “Ho-Ho-Ho Merry Christmas” voice could boom, it was always filled with joy of that season.       

Like many, Rob contracted Covid in 2020 and went to the hospital and then several months in a nursing home to regain his strength. Afterward, his life changed. He spent six hours a day in dialysis three time a week. Rob continued to live in his apartment until his last year, when he moved to the Life Care Center of Federal Way. Over that year, he had heart surgery twice and again for a broken hip. It somehow seems fitting that Rob passed during a medical appointment on February 26, 2024, in Federal Way. He will be interred in the family plot with his father and mother at the Forest View Cemetery in Forest Grove, Oregon (his mother’s hometown) on May 17, 2024.         

Rob is survived by his brother, Steven W. Morrison (EHS ’70) of Olympia; his niece, Emily Griffin, and her family of Woodinville; and cousins from Victoria, British Columbia, to Salinas, California.

The family wishes to thank the many employees of MAKSU for their assistance over the years.

A donation in Rob’s name will be made to Enumclaw Boy Scout Troop 422 by the family.

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