Richard (Rick) John Morrison — Castle AFB airman, artist, local performer
March 3,1938 — Aug. 10, 2021
It is with deep sadness that we announce that Rick Morrison passed peacefully at Park Merced on Tuesday, Aug. 10, 2021, at 83 years of age.
Rick was born on March 3, 1938 in Boston, Massachusetts, the youngest of five children, to William and Priscilla (Quinlan) Morrison. At 12 years of age, after the death of his father, he and his mother moved to Miami, Florida, where his brother Joe had relocated after World War II. Young in the 10th grade, Rick completed his junior year at 16, and then went to work for his brother, Joe, in his tile setting business.
He married the former Donna Clark at 21 years of age on November (Friday) 13, 1959, and six months later on May (Friday) 13, he enlisted in the U.S. Air Force which began a 23-year career. Shortly after his enlistment his mother died and he became an orphan at 22 – years of age. His marriage to Donna ended in divorce without offspring and Rick later married the former Shirley D. Altrock on January 23, 1965 which union resulted in four children ie: Douglas (1965), Deborah (1967) Donna (1970) and Doria (1973).
While stationed in U.P. Michigan, his 10-year marriage to Shirley was dissolved and she moved to California. Fortunately, four years later Rick was assigned to Castle AFB Atwater which put him within 300 miles of his children, allowing him to have time with them each summer. Upon retirement from the Air Force, Rick utilized the benefits of the G.I. bill and attended Merced Community College completing his lower division classes in two years. Earning an AA in Fine Art he then matriculated to Stanislaus State University with “honors at entrance” and proceeded to complete two BAs simultaneously and graduated summa cum laude in liberal studies with an additional major in fine art. While at SSU, Rick took advantage of two art tours of Europe which took him to all the museums in Leningrad, (it was still USSR then) Moscow, Amsterdam, London, Paris, Florence and Rome.
Rick spent his retirement years performing in plays at both Merced Shakespearefest and Playhouse Merced. His three favorite roles were in “Jesus Christ Superstar,” “Fiddler on the Roof,” and “Man from La Mancha.” He also enjoyed singing in the Merced Chorale, giving tours at the Castle Air Museum, participating in Art Hop exhibits and playing cards at the Senior Center.
He continued painting until his last few months and each of his paintings are rendered with exquisite attention to detail such as the local landmarks of the Merced Theatre, bus station and planes at the air museum. He was equally proficient in painting non-subjective themes using colors that swirl, twirl and unfurl in eclectic and aesthetically arresting arrangements.
Further enhancement of his retirement years was spent in a 26-plus-year committed, caring relationship with Bonnie Ballard as a kindred spirit who shared a mutual love of art, history, literature and music.
Rick was preceded in death by his parents, his sister Mary (McAdams), and his three brothers William, Joseph and Robert. Rick is survived by his four children, three grandsons, devoted companion, numerous nieces and nephews and many friends. He will be remembered as a sensitive, loyal, compassionate and generous man.
At Rick’s request, funeral services and a celebration of life will be private and for family members only.