Chapel Hill family, community remember man killed in storm

03/14/2014 1:54 PM

02/15/2015 10:42 AM

Randy Morris’ family and friends arrived in a steady stream at his East Colony Woods home late last week to remember the good things he did.

William (Randy) Randolph Morris, 55, was killed Wednesday evening when a tree fell on him while he was standing on the deck of his home at 106 Roper Lane. Police said heavy rain and winds up to 60 mph toppled the tree.

The house is located off Ephesus Church Road in the Durham County portion of Chapel Hill.

Morris is survived by his wife, Dr. Becky Morris, and two children, Lauren, 17, and Will, 11. They would have celebrated their 21st wedding anniversary in May, his wife said.

The family was active at St. Thomas More Catholic Church and St. Thomas More School, where their son is a fifth-grader. Lauren is a senior at Cardinal Gibbons High School.

Dr. Morris, a pediatrician with Duke Children’s Primary Care, said her husband was a retired Navy commander. He also was a founding member and vice president of Coldwater Aviation LLC, a private aviation services company based in Texas. They moved to Chapel Hill in 1995.

According to the school, he was an Iraq war veteran and active in the school’s Man-Up program and its Home and School Association. He also was the school’s treasurer.

Michele O’Donnell, president of the Home and School Association, posted on the school’s website that Morris made a big difference in a short time.

“Randy was a man of great intelligence, integrity, and high moral standing. I am honored to have worked with him, learned from him, and to have called him my friend. I will greatly miss him,” she said.

Morris’ wife said he wouldn’t have wanted anyone making a big deal about him.

“He was a modest man, but he was loved,” she said.

St. Thomas More officials sent out two notices last week to update staff, parents and students about Morris’ death and let them know staff members were available to help grieving families.

Parish families and neighbors are providing the family with meals through April, and students and staff members who want to attend Tuesday’s service will be excused from school, the notice stated. The school is seeking volunteers to help out with classes during the service.

The school’s fifth-graders also sent homemade cards to the family, Ashton said.

“The whole family was so touched by the cards that fifth grade created for him. They were passed around the whole family to a lot of laughter and tears,” he said.

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