Harold Morris, 94: WWII pilot and engineer

Hal Morris had the kind of mind that had to know how things tick.

Mr. Morris was born in London and growing up, had an innate curiosity.

"He was so curious that he cut class to spend time in the library reading," said his daughter, Trina Morris, of Tacoma, Wash. He later went on to study engineering at England's Bristol University. He received his MBA from the University of Chicago.

Harold H. "Hal" Morris, of Marietta, died Aug. 7 of complications from pneumonia. He was 94. The body was cremated. A memorial service will be held at 11 a.m. Saturday at Carmichael Funeral Home, who is in charge of arrangements.

Mr. Morris grew up with an interest in flying and took lessons, said his wife, Terry. He later joined the Royal Air Force and flew Lancaster Bomber sorties during WWII over occupied France and Germany. He was shot down over France, rescued by French partisans and smuggled back to England.

His war injuries kept him from flying, but his interest in aviation did not wane. He went on to work with British inventor Sir Frank Whittle on the first British jet engine designs. Fluent in both French and German, he later worked in military intelligence.

After the war, his interest in the future of technology led him to immigrate to the U.S. He worked for the Whirlpool Corp. in Benton Harbor, Mich.

Through Whirlpool, Mr. Morris became involved in the space program. His son, Evin Morris of Bellevue, Wash., said in 1962, his father spent eight days in the Gemini capsule with another engineer testing the sanitary systems that became the basis for those used in both Gemini and Apollo spacecraft.

Mr. Morris was transferred to Houston in 1963. As Whirlpool's liaison with NASA, he partnered with a German rocketry engineer to design the world's first flameproof paper stock, used for interior packaging in Apollo spacecraft.

Mr. Morris eventually left Whirlpool and created Technical Representation Inc., which provided technical services to NASA and other companies.

"Career was the family," said his son.

His children said Mr. Morris ran the business with his first wife, Doris "Boo" Morris, from an office near their home in Houston. Their neighborhood was also home to others in the space program, including Neil Armstrong. Hal and Doris, the mother of his two children, divorced in the '70s.

Mr. Morris developed lung cancer and later retired in 1977.

Mrs. Morris, who is about 28 years his junior, met Mr. Morris after he had retired and while she was on vacation on the Big Island of Hawaii.

"We were friends first, then all of a sudden, bam!" referring to their love connection. They married in 1984. "We were very lucky," Mrs. Morris said. "Every marriage has its ups and downs, but we had a beautiful marriage."

He had a wicked since of humor, his daughter said.

"You can measure a man by how many people loved him," she said. "And his lifelong friends remember him and smile."

Additional survivors include two grandchildren.