December 15, 2016

Robert C Morris, PhD

Roxbury Township, Mr. Robert Craig Morris, Ph.D, 72, died on December 15, 2016 at the Compassionate Care Hospice in Dover. He was born in Hemet, CA and grew up in Troy, NY. He lived in Flanders before moving to Roxbury Township 37 years ago. He earned his Ph.D in Material Science from Rensselaer Poly Tech Institute in Troy, NY. He was a retired Material Scientist at Allied Signal (now Honeywell) in Morristown for 28 years.

He is survived by his wife Miriam Elspeth Jane Morris of 37 years, a daughter Elizabeth Morris, son-in-law Michael Nutt, and grandson Otis Nutt of Raleigh, NC, brothers; Christopher Morris, Gregory Morris, and sister Debbie Morris.

Bob had a creative and curious mind that was always working, whether it was developing new materials during his career, playing blues and root music on his guitar, or planning what to have for dinner. As a child, Bob was always working on projects and mischief, often involving explosive chemicals. This curiosity and creativity continued throughout his career as a materials scientist, during which he accumulated patents and many accomplishments. It also connected him with many different people, projects, and communities throughout his life.

In retirement, Bob became very active in historic preservation in Roxbury and brought his exacting scientific standards to the historic preservation community. He was a charter member of the Roxbury Historic Trust and the main strategic thinker on its Board of Trustees.

In 2005, Bob began building and flying model airplanes, most of them fragile works of art assembled from balsa wood and paper and powered by rubber bands. He was an active member of the Brooklyn Skyscrapers flying club and spent many weekends with Miriam in the Baron Fields near Pine Island, flying his creations. He competed annually at the Great Grape Gathering in Geneseo, NY, but also contributed to knowledge in the field by researching and publishing on twist and writhe in rubber band-powered motors.

Bob enjoyed gardening and was an outdoorsman, hunting and fishing, canoeing and camping. He also had a huge soft spot for dogs, sharing love and bacon with those in his life. He passed gardening and a reverence and curiosity for the natural world on to his daughter, Ellie, who was the pride of his life.

He also passed on his strong sense of justice. He was active in the civil rights movement as a young man and remained passionate about civil rights, the rights of indigenous communities, and Palestine.

As for dinner, Bob “lived to eat” and started planning dinner as soon as he woke up in the morning. He enjoyed cooking, supervising everyone else’s cooking, and sharing meals with family and friends. He especially enjoyed sharing his love for North Carolina seafood with his grandson, Otis. Bob loved being a grandfather and spending time with Otis, bonding over blowing raspberries.

With his wide-ranging interests and contacts, Bob touched many lives and contributed through his intelligence, creativity, and hard work to many enduring projects and bodies of knowledge. He will be remembered with affection and love and something approaching awe by friends and family.

In lieu of flowers, Miriam would appreciate donations to the Rutgers Cancer Institute of New Jersey, which took wonderful care of Bob for several years.

Private arrangements are by the Davis & Hepplewhite Funeral Home, 96 Main Street, Succasunna 973-584-7264 (

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