Robin Richard Morris
Dec. 23, 1949 – Dec. 9, 2014
Robin Richard Morris (b Dec. 23, 1949) drew his last, and mercifully peaceful, breath on the morning of Dec. 9, 2014, with his loved and loving wife, Kathryn, and his beloved younger son, Evan, at his bedside, and his adored older son, Tristan, in his heart.
Robin was a doting father, proud newspaper man, loved husband, community supporter, monarchist, trend setter, military re-enactor, CFL and Habs fan, dapper dresser, and ‘60s British invasion rock’n roll and Blues lover, who firmly believed there hadn’t been a good rock’n roll song written since “Satisfaction.”
Born into a weekly newspaper family in Prescott, Ont., printers’ ink flowed through Robin’s veins. He followed in the footsteps of his adored Dad Jack (d 1994), joining the family business on his return from Ryerson, where he had honed his skills on student publications (and not in the classroom, much to his instructors’ chagrin). Although his older brother cast a long shadow, Robin’s intellect and talent kept him out from under it. Losing his place at the Prescott Journal to family discord broke his heart, but not his spirit, as he established Etcetera Publications (the long form of the abbreviation for Evan Tristan Company). He took over at Jack’s alma mater, the Chesterville Record, and continued to build his brainchild, Eastern Ontario AgriNews, which so perfectly melded his dual UEL farming and journalism heritage.
Robin was a newspaperman’s newspaperman, with innate curiosity and discipline. He joined his Dad and brother in serving as president of the Ontario Community Newspaper Association, and then receiving his Canadian Community Newspaper Association Silver Quill in 2003. He was named a Paul Harris Fellow by the Chesterville Rotary Club for his support of the club through the Chesterville Record.
Jack’s overseas Second World War service and Prescott’s Fort Town legacy inspired Robin’s fascination with military history, and his avid participation in the War of 1812 reenactment unit – the Canadian Fencibles. He and his good friend, Rob Irvine, were the key drivers of the hugely successful 200th anniversary re-enactment of the “battle that saved Canada,” the Battle of Crysler’s Farm, which was the signature War of 1812 event in Eastern Ontario in 2013.
An enigma to many, Robin was too modest to comprehend the admiration and respect in which he was held by so many. He was complicated and complex; as his friend, Steve, once said, “he was wound tighter than the rest of us.”
He was the love of Kathryn’s life, his father’s son, mother’s joy, older sister’s wonder, the sometimes burr under his brother’s saddle, and he was his younger sister’s consummate big brother. For all of his talents and aptitude, nothing awed him so much as his sons Tristan and Evan, of whom he often said “I didn’t know what pure love was until they were born.”
Robin was too smart to live without disquiet, and the cigarettes that once offered him some measure of freedom were his deal with the devil; they ultimately delivered him into the tortures of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease.
Passionately loyal with strongly held opinions, he was a keen debater and editorialist. He had a quick wit and sharp memory (The night was thick and hazy, when the Picadilly Daisy carried crew and captain down to the sea….) and God pity any unfit sparring partner in either ring.
Robin was predeceased by his parents, Jack and Ida (nee Baker d 1991), and his brother, John (d 2004). In addition to Kathryn who, although “late to the game,” as she called it, could not have loved or offered him more (and for this the whole family will be eternally grateful); and the heart broken Tristan and Evan, Robin is survived by his older sister, Connie (Dan Clark) of Belleville, and younger sister, Deborah (Bruce Allan) of Toronto.
A private family service has taken place, and a celebration of Robin’s life is being planned for early summer on the banks of his beloved St. Lawrence River. Suffice it to say he will go out with a bang, as from a cannon shot. Rule Britannia!
Special thanks to the incomparably kind and gracious Ottawa General Hospital sixth floor NW Palliative Care staff.
Donations in Robin’s memory to the Lung Association, or The Friends of the Crysler’s Farm Battlefield, (c/o Rob Irvine, 8 Fifth St., Johnstown, Ont., K0E 1T1) will be gratefully acknowledged.
Who killed Cock Robin?
“I,” said the Sparrow, “with my bow and
arrow. I killed Cock Robin.”….
All the birds of the air
Fell a-sighing and a-sobbing
When they heard the bell toll
For poor Cock Robin.