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Jessie Franklin Morris, loving and devoted husband and father, passed away at the age of 88, at his home in Covington, Va. His faith, love, and commitment to The Lord was his guiding light throughout his life and it brought him comfort in his final hours. His kind and compassionate spirit will always be remembered by…read more
Jessie Franklin Morris, loving and devoted husband and father, passed away at the age of 88, at his home in Covington, Va. His faith, love, and commitment to The Lord was his guiding light throughout his life and it brought him comfort in his final hours. His kind and compassionate spirit will always be remembered by his family and friends.
He was born to Emmett R. Morris and Josephine Tyree Morris in 1932 in Iron Gate, Va. Along with his parents, he was preceded in death by two brothers and five sisters. He was the last surviving member of his family.
Jessie enlisted in the 227th Army National Guard, in Covington, Va. in June 1950 at 18 years old. He was honorably discharged in 1952 and immediately reported for active duty in the United States Army and served at Fort Leonard Wood in Missouri. Jessie served at Fort Wood until 1953 when he was honorably discharged to return to Covington to assist his family during a time of hardship. He remained in the Army Reserve from 1953-1957. He was truly proud to serve his country.
After he returned home, he married Josephine Bowles from Covington in 1954. They were married for over 65 years before she passed away in January 2020.
Jessie worked as a carpenter and concrete contractor early in life and from there was employed with the C&O Railroad as a brakeman in Clifton Forge. After his railroad career,
he worked as a mechanic at the Jane Colby sewing plant in Clifton Forge and Halmode Apparel in Covington. He loved working, was employed well into his seventies, and eventually retired from Gala Industries in Eagle Rock. He truly loved and missed his Gala family.
Along with his love and devotion to his family, was his lifelong love and devotion to music. Jessie was a self-taught musician and played many instruments, but was known throughout the area for his mandolin, piano, and his singing. Bluegrass was the genre he learned early in life and he eventually blended it with gospel music. He was a musician on
the Saturday morning bluegrass radio show in Covington in the 1960’s, performed at the Roanoke Fiddle and Banjo Club, and was a member of several groups in the area which included The Cardinal State Quartet(1960’s), The Announcers (1970’s) and was also a member of the bluegrass house band for the Greenbrier Hotel in the late 1980’s and early 1990’s. He also played with many small groups, friends, and neighbors in the area over the years which included The Spiritual Believers with his wife Josephine, his brother Clarence Morris, and lifelong friend Rev Ray Tucker. He also spent many, many hours jamming with David and Davy Carroll. His most recent gig was playing the Jam Sessions at The Clifton Forge School of the Arts (prior to Covid restrictions) over a year ago. The relationships he developed through the years with the many musicians he met brought him great joy.
Jessie is survived by his two children: his daughter Vickie Brown and Son-In-Law Dennis of Covington and Son Frank Morris and Daughter-In-Law Tracey of Clifton Forge. He is also survived by his five Grandsons: Charles “Charlie” Brown of Vinton, Brandon Morris of Clifton Forge, Tyler Morris of Covington, Josh Howard of Staunton, Matt Howard of Mobile, AL. He
is also survived by five great-grandchildren, two great-great grandchildren, a Sister-In-Law Betty Jo Morris and many nieces and nephews.
Sadly, due to Covid concerns, a traditional family night will not be held but there will be open visitation for friends and family to pay respects at Arritt Funeral Home any time during normal business hours. Covid protocol with masks and distancing will be required.
A private graveside funeral will be held for immediate family.
The family would like to thank Mountain Regional Hospice for their assistance during this difficult time. We would like to thank Dr. Scott Brown and staff for the many years of care.
In lieu of flowers, memorial donations can be made to the following:
The Clifton Forge School of the Arts P.O. Box 406 Clifton Forge, Va. 24422 or to Epworth United Methodist Church P.O. Box 190, Selma, VA 24474.hide
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