Special education teacher, advocate, loving wife
Longtime Claremont resident Dorothy Lea Morris died June 5, 2017 in Escondido, California from complications related to Alzheimer’s disease.
Born in Clarksville, Arkansas on October 20, 1934, Dorothy was the youngest of nine children. Her parents, Ernest and Callie Hardgrave, moved the family to Fresno when Dorothy was five years old.
Mrs. Morris graduated from Roosevelt High School in Fresno in 1953 and earned a bachelor’s degree in Physical Education from Fresno State College in 1957. She began her teaching career at Paso Robles High School in Paso Robles, California.
She married Thomas Sherman Morris in 1958 and the couple moved to Pomona, where Mr. Morris worked in the aerospace industry. In 1970 the couple moved to Claremont.
Mrs. Morris continued her teaching career at Chino High School before working at St. Paul’s Episcopal Day School in Pomona. In 1971 she embarked on a 30-year career at the Rowland Unified School District. During that time, she worked as a physical education teacher before moving into special education. In the twilight of her career she developed programs to transition special needs children into employment.
Mrs. Morris was an avid gardener, golfer and bowler.
She is survived by her brother Wayman; her daughter and son-in-law Julia and Robert Stansell of Coronado, California; her son Joseph Morris of Queensland, Australia; and by her grandchildren, Emily and Russell (“Rusty”) Stansell, Indiah, Asha and Phoebe Morris, and numerous nieces and nephews. She was preceded in death by her husband, Thomas Sherman Morris; her parents, Ernest and Callie Hardgrave; her sisters, Polly and Florene; her brothers, Lorne, Howard, John, Glenn (“Jack”) and Howell (“Sam”).
A celebration of life and the scattering of Mrs. Morris’ ashes are planned for later this summer.
In lieu of flowers, the family suggests donations in Mrs. Morris’ name be made to the Alzheimer’s Association of America at alz.org or by calling (800) 272-3900.