John Leonard “Len” Morris, beloved brother, husband, father, grandfather, and friend, went to meet his Lord and Savior Jesus Christ on February 20, 2019 in Twin Falls, Idaho, his home of fifty-eight years. He was 89.
The youngest of five children, John was born on December 12, 1929 in Des Moines, Iowa to Caroline and Charles Barnett. Following two incidents which took the lives of their birth parents, John and his siblings were separated, placed in foster homes, and eventually adopted. Lawrence and Grace Morris adopted John in 1934 and took him to live on their farm near Thornburg, Iowa. On account of their grandmother’s request, the five children were later able to reunite as adults.
John cultivated his deep appreciation for agriculture and working the land during his early life in rural Iowa. He also discovered his lifelong passion for aviation there. At age 16, before he could drive, John began flight lessons using money his mother had given him. After six months of instruction, he obtained his pilot’s license with his first solo flight in a yellow Piper J-3 Cub, an experience he remembered fondly and recounted often.
In 1951, John met Betty Robbins at a restaurant in Rose Hill, Iowa, and they began dating. Both of them were saved during a Christian revival in October of that same year. They married on February 24, 1952, and to this union were born two daughters, Julie and Lauri. Soon after marrying, John served in Germany as a member of the U.S. Army. Upon his graduation from Iowa State University in 1961 with a degree in agronomy, John and Betty moved their family to Idaho where he began his distinguished career with Rogers Brothers Seed Company. Observing John’s potential as a researcher, Harvey Mauth of Rogers Brothers arranged for him to pursue a doctorate in plant breeding and pathology at Utah State University. He completed this degree in 1967 and not long afterward became director of garden pea and bean research, a position he held until his retirement in 1993. Although he received international recognition for his work in commercial pea and bean breeding, John considered his professional life above all as an extension of his love of farming.
John will be remembered for his unwavering commitment to serving others. To his family, friends, and community alike he continually offered himself as a source of comfort, strength, and joy. During his many years as a member at Grace Baptist Church he served in a variety of official and unofficial capacities and was always eager to do anything there as needed. In his retirement years, he continued to serve others by working at White’s Mortuary and volunteering his time at the hospital.
John was preceded in death by his birth siblings Charles, Janice, Charlotte, and Bill and his adoptive brother Larry. He is survived by his loving wife and best friend, Betty; his daughters, Julie (Steve) Jones and Lauri Barnett; his grandchildren David, Matt, and Amy; and his great grandchildren Kris, Connor, Jaiden, Kaitlyn, Jonathan, and Ava.
In lieu of flowers, the family suggests that donations be made to the Salvation Army, Twin Falls Christian Academy, or Disabled American Veterans.
Memorial services will be held 1:00PM on Saturday ,March 2, 2019 at Rosenau Funeral Home in Twin Falls, Idaho. Family and friends are encouraged to share their memories at www.rosenaufuneralhome.com