Agnes Morris, 84: Kept Norway bond in heart

Agnes Morris' teen years were turbulent but that was through no fault of her own. She just happened to live in Norway during the Nazi occupation from 1940-45

A promising soprano and pianist, she was denied the musical education she craved.  There was no such thing as a youthful social life, owing to the occupiers' harsh curfew restrictions. Norwegians went hungry because the Germans controlled the food supply. And there was special tension in her household because her father belonged to the Norwegian underground.

With Norway's liberation, she was able to start a new life. Fortunately for her, she had an aunt who had come to America to live, and so she took advantage of her aunt's invitation to do likewise, settling with her in New York City in 1947 at the age of 21. Employed first as a governess, she later became a flight attendant with Pan American World Airways working its flights to Europe and the Far East.

She met and married a rising Standard Oil (later Exxon) executive named Edmond Morris and raised their twin daughters in suburban New Jersey. Mrs. Morris impressed upon them the importance of their Scandinavian heritage -- speaking Norwegian in the home, serving popular dishes of Norway, often traveling with her family to her hometown of Oslo.

"I feel very Norwegian for someone who was born and raised in America," said one daughter, Suzanne D'Urso of Atlanta.

Mrs. Morris' attachment to Norway continued the rest of her life, including the last 27 years she resided in Atlanta.

Agnes Inseborg Morris, 84, died Tuesday of complications following a stroke at Belmont Village Assisted Living Community in Buckhead. Her memorial service will be 3 p.m. Monday at Peachtree Presbyterian Church's Kellett Chapel.

After her husband retired, the two of them moved to Florida, but she soon grew bored with the beach lifestyle, said her daughter, Christine Roberts of Bethlehem.  So in 1983, the Morrises decided to settle in Atlanta, partly because their daughters had each chosen to live in this region but also because of Atlanta's cultural attractions.

Mrs. Morris especially cherished the concerts of the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra and the productions of the Atlanta Opera. For years she was a volunteer for both organizations, acting as an usher and as a docent.

She joined the Atlanta chapter of World Wings International, a philanthropic association of former Pan Am flight attendants. "She was so excited to go to our convention in Oslo and invite the group to convene two years later in Atlanta," said Nancy McAllister of Alpharetta, a fellow WWI member.

And Mrs. Morris' Norwegian dishes were big favorites at club meetings and Christmas dinners of Atlanta's Ladies of Norway. "Agnes was much admired by her women friends for her graciousness and by their husbands for her cooking," said a friend, Randi Conlisk of Hayesville, N.C.

Survivors also include two sisters, Wendy Arneson of Oslo and Karin Müller of Zurich, Switzerland, and three grandchildren.