James A. Morris
(1923 - 2000)

Robert Cowdery
Wichita, Kansas
No Picture 

This is a memorial to an outstanding geologist of the Wichita area.  In mid-life, because of  strong religious convictions, he changed direction and followed a course that was to eventually lead to the ordained ministry.

Jim was born in Bryan, Oklahoma just 15 miles north of the Texas border into a family with deep Texas "roots" going back to a grandfather who had homesteaded in Texas.  Jim moved with his family to Oil Hill after his father left farming in Oklahoma to find employment in the oil fields.  The family arrived just in time for the "boom" and their first housing was in a converted railroad car.

The family included two sisters: Imogene, a nurse in El Dorado, is deceased, and Joyce Klingensmith who resides in Duncan, Oklahoma.

Jim graduated from El Dorado High School in 1941.  he then attended Butler County Community College for one and a half years until he volunteered for the army and was accepted.  Because of his sufficiently high scores when he completed basic training at Camp Rogers, he was sent back to college at Stanford University and later Santa Clara University.

He elected to return to regular army duty and was soon shipped to the European theater.  Jim saw considerable action as his armored unit chased the Germans across Western Europe.  He later returned to California and was discharged in 1945.

While on furlough, Jim met Pauline Mattix and they were married in Nowata, Oklahoma prior to his departure for overseas duty.  Pauline and Jim had three children: Fred now living in Seattle, Matt who resides in Overbrook, and Stephanie Patty of El Dorado.

After his discharge, Jim returned to Kansas and because he played football at El Dorado High School and Butler County Community College he was recruited by Ralph Graham to play at the University of Wichita.  Jim soon determined that it was going to take too much time from his studies.  It was at this time that he enrolled in geology.

During his senior year at the university Jim worked for Sohio Petroleum and following his graduation in 1949 he found employment with Cities Service Oil at Great Bend.  After approximately on year with Cities Jim returned to Wichita with Petroleum Inc.  Subsequently Jim entered the consulting field and many of his prospects were jointly developed with his longtime friend and colleague, Bob Watchous.  Later Jim was a partner in a core-drilling operation with Jim Doneldson with the company titled "Cowboy and Indian."

As stated in an article by Ray King "Morris, an geologist, asked Christ into his life in 1952 and promptly began studying the scriptures.  He read through the entire New Testament once each month in his first year as a Christian."

In 1956, Jim first became involved with the Navigators, an association he was to continue for the rest of his active life.  Jim has worked with a number of individuals in the Wichita are to help them grow in their Christian life.

Thus a man who pursued a career as a geologist and was a successful "oil finder" transitioned into an active ministry particularly in association with the Wichita Bible Church.  As stated earlier, Jim put his "heart and soul" into whatever he did.  Whether it be geology or religion he has added to our knowledge of both.  The world has been a better place as a result of Jim Morris's life with us.

A memorial has been established with the Wichita Bible Church and the Navigators.

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