PULLMAN, Wash.–Dennis J. “Denny” Morrison, 78, who helped shape education in Washington for more than four decades, died Saturday of complications related to cancer in a Moscow, Idaho, nursing home.
Morrison was assistant to the president at Washington State University and served more than 20 years on the Pullman School Board and 9 years on the state Board of Education.
A memorial celebration of his life will be held at 2 p.m. Friday, June 13, at Sacred Heart Catholic Church in Pullman. Rev. Tom Caswell will officiate the service. Arrangements are under the direction of Kimball Funeral Home.
President of the Washington State School Directors Association in 1974, Morrison was a member of the board of directors of the National School Boards Association from 1977-83. He also served on the executive committee of the National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education and the national committee to celebrate the centennial of the Land Grant College Act that established schools such as WSU.
Morrison began a 39-year career at WSU in 1947 as an editor of the Office of Publications. He later was assistant to the director of the Institute of Agricultural Sciences and news services director from 1954-67.
Born in Sac City, Iowa, to John Brown and Mamie (Gibson) Morrison on March 18, 1919, he graduated from the University of Missouri in journalism and worked as a reporter and editor for the Huronite and Daily Plainsman newspapers in South Dakota.
He married Eleanor Devine in 1941.
During World War II, Morrison was a pilot instructor, public relations officer and editor in the Army Air Force. From 1945-47, he was editor-in-chief of the massive Strategic Bombing Survey, which assessed the effectiveness of Allied strategic bombing of Germany and Japan.
He retired from WSU in 1986 as assistant to the president. He worked with many university external groups including the Washington congressional delegation, alumni and advisory committees, and he assisted with fund-raising programs.
His honorary and professional associations included Sigma Delta Chi/Society of Professional Journalists, Crimson Circle, American College Public Relations Association, Council for Advancement and Support of Education, Omicron Delta Kappa, Washington FFA, and the Phi Mu Alpha music honorary.
Besides education, his other special interests included children and other people, golf, and free-lance writing.
He is survived by his wife of 55 years, Eleanor, at their Pullman home; daughters Susan Percival, Seattle, Sharon Morrison, Manhattan, N.Y., and Judith Morrison, Redlands, Calif; son John, Las Vegas, Nev.; a sister, Berneice Ferguson, Charleston, Ill.; and six grandchildren. He was preceded in death by his parents and a brother, Wilbur.
Memorials are suggested to the Dennis J. Morrison Memorial Scholarship Fund in care of the WSU Foundation or the Pullman Education Foundation in memory of Dennis J. Morrison, Seafirst Bank, attention Linda Mittelhammer, 425 E. Main St., Pullman, WA 99163.