On Saturday, May 22nd, Claude Alexander Morrison Jr. (Alex, or Alec if you’re from North Carolina) passed away peacefully in his sleep with loved ones by his side at his home in Vero Beach, Florida.
He is survived by his wife Supatta (Pang) Rachpromma Morrison, his daughters Amy Morrison Hayden (Sam) and Meredith Kristine (Kristi) Morrison Hutson (David), and four grandsons Cody Hayden, Austin Hayden, Wyatt Hayden and Ethan Morrison.
He touched peoples lives in ways that stayed with them for a lifetime with his smile, his intellect, and his love for life.
Alex was born in Monroe, North Carolina, to Claude and Mae Morrison. He and his older brother grew up hunting, fishing, going to school and doing all the things kids do. He completed all of his schooling in Monroe until his senior year where he attended a college prep school in Tennessee. After graduating high school from Baylor School in Chattanooga, he married Deborah Kay Humphries from Monroe, NC, in 1967. They went on to have two daughters together: Amy in 1970 and Kristi in 1973.
The book “Oh The Places You’ll Go” by Dr Suess comes to mind when looking back at his career path. After graduating from North Carolina State University in 1970, he joined the National Guard and served for two years. Then, in 1972, he went to work the National Forest Service in Tennessee, then Louisiana, where he was named an honorary Cajun by his local fishing/hunting buddies.
He and his family moved to Savannah, Georgia in 1973 where he worked for the US Army Corps of Engineers first in the Planning Branch then quickly into Construction Division. Savannah was a perfect fit for this outdoorsman, and many life long friendships were made. In 1977, he and his family moved to Gainsville, Florida, for one year where he received his masters degree from the University of Florida then returned to Savannah and continued with the COE.
The next career opportunity in 1982 took him and his family to Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, in the Middle East Division for COE to build K.A.M.A. The King Abdulaziz Military Academy near Riyadh. It was complete with housing for 10,000; a shopping center with stores, bank, post office, a university with classrooms, labs, and athletic facilities. Alex was the Chief Quality Assurance of construction, overseeing the contractors. This experience allowed he and his family to travel in the middle east as well as Europe developing Alex’s love for travel and exploring the world.
After 3 years in Saudi, he returned home to Savannah. In Savannah he served as the Resident Engineer for Ft Stewart for many of their military construction projects for the next few years. In 1989, he transferred to Jacksonville District to construction division where he served as Chief of the Quality Assurance overseeing the many civil projects underway there.
In 1993, Alex went to Miami to become the Area Engineer for the Hurricane Andrew recovery effort which was, the largest hurricane recovery effort the Corps had ever worked on at the time and winning awards for his efforts there. Next up was Kuwait after the Gulf War to assist in the rebuilding process then he was off to his grand adventure in Anchorage, Alaska.
Alex was the Army Corps of Engineers Chief Resident Engineer in charge of the construction of the Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson Hospital. At the time of completion in the late 1990s, it was the largest hospital in the State of Alaska. The hospital has 55 beds and is a DOD Joint Venture treatment facility which is a general and surgical facility and teaching hospital with 63 practicing doctors. It was an incredible facility. Living in Alaska was a long life dream come true. It enabled him to further pursue his passions for hunting, fishing and camping as well as making incredible friends who enjoyed the same outdoor lifestyle as he did.
Following the hospital project in 1999, Alex was assigned the Resident Engineer position in Koror, Palau in the Honolulu District. This project involved constructing a new two lane 53 mile coastal highway that encircled the entire island that enable people safely and more quickly reach vital necessities for everyday living. And more importantly, this is where he met Supatta (Pang), later married and began their adventure together. They explored this island paradise together fishing, snorkeling and taking in all the natural wonders Palau has to offer.
After officially retiring from COE in 2008 he took a year long position in Iwakuni, Japan, in 2011. He thoroughly enjoyed the food and the local culture as he worked as a Retired Annuitant Resident Engineer on the renovation of an American Air Force base in Japan.
Since 2012, Alaska had been his home base. He and Pang continued to travel. His adventures carried him around the US and the globe hunting, fishing, dining, RV’ing and meeting new and old friends along the way. A quote(ish) from a friend “when Alex said I’ll take you to one of my favorite spots, it usually involved an RV trip, a boat ride and a hike to get to a remote, untouched spot to take in nature’s beauty.”
His 23 year battle with prostate cancer was not lost, it was won every single day because he chose life. Day after day, adventure after adventure, treatment after treatment he chose to explore, to find the path not taken, to fill his life with more memories, more moments.
In lieu of flowers, donations can be sent to Alaska Wildlife Conservation Center at www.Alaska wildlife.org
Thank you for all of your kind words, prayers and support. Please feel free to share your BEST Alex story in the comments below. His family would love to hear from you. Peace be with you all.
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