James Morris

James Morris - 400

June 27, 1943 - July 18, 2021

Dear friends,

James Morris, a beloved member of the Fellowship of Friends at Apollo, completed his task today, July 18, 2021, at 11:44 a.m., having suffered a stroke a few days earlier.

James was born on June 27, 1943, and turned 78 on his last birthday. He joined the school in Los Angeles in April 1974, and lived at Apollo since moving here in 1975, soon starting to work  at the Fellowship Press Room, and more recently for the gardens and Gatehouse. He was a strong supporter of the performing arts at Apollo from the beginning. James’ gentle presence and smiling countenance served as a light to his friends and all those who met him.

On behalf of all who knew you, we thank thee.

In loving presence,
Rowena Taylor
for the Elysian Society

Funeral Service Text: James Morris 2021-07

The smallest sprout shows there is really no death
,And if ever there was it led forward life, and does not wait at the end to arrest it,
And ceas’d the moment life appear’d.
All goes onward and outward, nothing collapses,
And to die is different from what any one supposed, and luckier.

Walt Whitman

 

  1. Stanley Fligner August 8, 2021 at 2:29 pm

    He was a man from a black and white movie,
    The priest in a small Mediterranean village,
    Slightly disheveled from hair to shoes,
    With eyes that could take it all in
    And a wide, ready smile that said, “I’m withya.”

    He had lunch each day at the village cafe,
    With various town laborers.
    They spoke softly and concentrated
    About matters of the earth and above.
    When I interrupted to clear plates,
    Making one of my usual comments,
    There was that smile, always new.

    I am sure he had made, early on,
    An agreement with God,
    Had said one day, when he knew enough,
    He would work long and hard for heaven,
    But only in ways he could;
    He would have to leave some things out.

    And so he lived that way,
    On the beautifully imperfect path to perfection,
    For God had replied,
    “Not a problem, James, I’m withya.”

  2. Kim McDavit August 5, 2021 at 6:13 am

    After arriving home to Arlington, Virginia from a month-long trip to care for my 90-year-old parents in Wisconsin, I was saddened to find out that our dear friend, James Morris, had died recently. That evening, our neighbor’s brother, James, stopped by to talk with me on my front porch and I mentioned that I had just returned home from a difficult trip caring for my ailing elderly parents. Our talk was ordinary yet his empathy was notable. The next day I was walking to the store and the same gentleman, James, saw me walking and asked if I would like a walking companion, to which I replied “sure.” On our walk, he mentioned that his house-sitting was finished because that morning his brother’s family had returned from their vacation and he could go back home now. Later that afternoon I heard a knock on my door and when I opened it, James was there with a slip of paper which had his phone number on it in case I needed someone to talk to. Next to his number he wrote his full name “James Morris.” This shock and synchronicity seemed to come from a different dimension. There I stood in the presence of James Morris. I thanked him for his kindness and closed the door.

  3. Hubert August 5, 2021 at 1:38 am

    When I first arrived at Apollo, during the 1983 harvest, dear James was one of those friends who made it Home. It always stayed that way with us, and the conversations and moments of gentle comradeship we shared will last beyond time.

  4. William Galvin August 1, 2021 at 7:31 pm

    Ode to James

    That “absence that makes the heart grow fonder”
    Is hard to bear now that you are no longer with us
    in the visible pattern.
    I am writing to you now to make sense out of your absence.

    Because you were always there in the background.
    And I could always depend on an unexpected encounter.
    Unexpected because I could never predict what you would say.
    I took a secret joy in asking you just the right question -
    That opened one of your insights like the lid on a case of jewels.
    Or better yet if I could please you with an observation of mine.
    “True” you would say or “I don’t know” and you would laugh.

    Milton said, “They also serve who only stand and wait.”
    But how you stood and waited, supported: witnessed!
    I learned early on that you were a quiet person in continual observation.
    Observing the pattern, serving the pattern as you saw it.
    “My life has a purpose now.”

    At a time when when many expressed their being through words,
    You were silent.
    Plying your trades with care: cook, administrator, printer, guard.
    Mastering the details.

    And music flowed throughout all of your life.
    I remember you at concerts with your careful introductions of the musical pieces.
    As a page-turner for countless musicians…
    As you aged, your body was stooped from your accident
    But your demeanor and attention were as impeccable as your tuxedo.

    I sang beside you in the last year and could hardly hear your voice.
    Yet we felt you as a cornerstone, we felt privileged to sing with you.
    The chorus was one of your families.

    You were quietly and completely dependable.
    Your widespread support was never more noticeable than now
    When it has been withdrawn by forces higher than any of the roles we play.
    And that fait accompli is part of the greater pattern that we now strain to see.

    You kept your eye on that greater pattern.
    That’s what you were quietly observing all these many years.
    You found the simple threads that you could weave
    And you wove them as tightly, as perfectly as you could
    And you included all of our imperfections
    In the pattern that you wove.

    That transformation was most elegant!
    And now that same transformation is most needed from us
    As we adjust our threads to fill the places you left,
    And as we keep those threads, that you wove with us,
    Present and preserved in the greater pattern,
    That weaves each of us into and out of the visible world.

  5. Mary Elizabeth August 1, 2021 at 11:34 am

    An accomplished musician, a good bass singer and reader of classical music, James helped the chorus to get musical scores organized for their performances. On a visit within the last few years, he did this while helping with administrative work for the gardens and landscape maintenance. During daily “work breakfast” with Luigi and team, he knew where people were and where a volunteer might help out.
    Your golden heart stays with us. Bach: “Deo soli gloria”

  6. Corine July 31, 2021 at 8:13 pm

    As you were during you last performance, in the background but supportive and really there, that’s how I will remember you. I will miss your sweet presence in our chorus.

  7. Lidia July 27, 2021 at 9:40 pm

    Be – and at the same time learn the terms of Non-Being,
    the endless ground of your own inner vibration,
    so that you fully consummate it this one time.
    Sonnets to Orpheus, Reiner Maria Rilke

    I Will miss your sweet smile and gentle soul, such a privilege to sing with you in the chorus all these years.

  8. Andreea Federspiel-Otelea July 24, 2021 at 12:46 pm

    Thank you James, for managing to keep your sense of humor and that simple state of wonder.
    Thank you for leaving so sweetly.

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