Darrell E Morris, passed away peacefully, surrounded by family, Wednesday, November 29 at 8:37 PM. He born in Beech Grove, Indiana to Florence and George Morris. Darrell graduated Howe High School in 1966. Darrell was a career firefighter with Warren Township and later IFD. His career as a firefighter included time as a chief, deputy fire inspector, and culminated in fire prevention. In addition to his career and dedication to fire service, Darrell was a 33rd degree Master Mason, accomplished pipe organist, men’s choral director for the Scottish Rite, as well as a substitute band teacher for Warren Township schools. He ran for mayor of Indianapolis in 2007 and 2015. One of Darrell’s many hobbies included wood working. He loved to tell us he would have also joined the military if he didn’t have flat feet and would have been an Eagle Scout if only, he could swim. The swimming instructor even told his parents, ”Well, he won’t drown.”
Darrell was a doer. He did not believe is sitting things out, rather, he preferred to be in the mix getting things done.
While in high school, Darrell was a member of the Pride of Howe Marching Band where he played his trumpet. This is where his love of marching band and dream of becoming a marching band director bloomed. A man of many passions, he originally started his lifelong dream studying to become a marching band director at Butler University. While studying at Butler University Jordan College of Music, he learned to play the pipe organ. He, unfortunately, made friends with some bad characters and spent more time playing cards his senior year than finishing up the classes required to complete his bachelor’s degree. His last semester of college he sat out to get his head on straight, a regret he took to the grave. He never regretted the decision to join fire service, rather, he regretted the fact that he did not finish college.
While on leave from his student status at Butler University he was afforded the opportunity to take a full-time job as a firefighter with Warren Township fire department in 1973 as a Chauffer to drive fire apparatus. Darrell worked on the Warren Township Fire Department in Suppression during the early part of his career, and even held the ranks of Assistant Chief and Chief of Fire in the late 1970s. During his time as fire chief, he led the charge during the great blizzard of 78. He had many stories to tell of the creative out of the box thinking it took to assist those in need while the snow made the roads impassable. He spent time as a dispatcher for Warren Dispatch until March 1991. Darrel was the engineer at Station 41 and was later promoted to Lieutenant that same year. In 1994 Darrell was promoted to Captain at Station 41. In 1996 he transitioned into Fire prevention. Over the years Darrell was awarded for his great service to the Warren Township Fire Department and the community.
Darrell retired from the Indianapolis Fire Department on 12/31/2007. While in fire service, Darrell was also trained as an EMT. He would later tell each and every doctor, “You can’t pull the wool over my eyes, I have a background in medicine.” He would tell anyone who listened, that marching band was his passion but his career as a fireman was his legacy. The fire career afforded him the opportunity to build his dream home he designed in middle school in Hidden Lakes on the far east side of Indianapolis in 2001. He often said that his house was his crowning achievement.
A passionate musician, Darrell did not let a little ole things like not finishing college end his musical career. He played the pipe organ at many venues including the old Pizza palace, Clowes Memorial Hall, the Scottish Rite Cathedral, and many churches throughout the State of Indiana. He was a choral director for the men’s choir at the Scottish Rite and lead many concerts and programs there. He also substituted for Warren Township musical departments. His kids had him many times as a substitute band director at Creston Junior High as well as Warren Central High School. He took great pride in being able to pick up where the director’s left off.
Darrell became a Freemason in 1983. He was a member of the Pleasant lodge. He worked very hard and took his role as a Freemason very seriously. He achieved the highest honor of 33rd Degree Master Mason in 2005.
Darrell met and married the love of his life Juanita Faye Morris while visiting a Waffle House where Juanita worked on the west side. They married July 21, 1985. With that union he was also upgraded to the role of dad which he took great pride in. He was blessed with his daughter Chastity and son Ashley. He loved being a grandpa even more. He would take the granddaughters fishing, exploring, have them do sleeping bag races down the stairs, and loved to make Sunday morning breakfast including homemade waffles. He and the granddaughters would hunt frogs to scare grandma and take paddle boat trips around the pond where Grandma would stand nervously on the banks and cautiously reminding everyone to sit their butts down and wear the lifejackets!
For all intents and purpose, Darrell’s life motto was do it or don’t do it, but don’t do anything half way. That included his clumsiness. A man often on the go, he found himself falling quite often. He took it in great stride as he would often tell those who commented on his falls that he was training for a new Olympic sport, concrete diving. Darrell’s great sense of humor will be greatly missed by those who knew him.
Darrell is survived by his sister, Irene Gliwa, brother, Greg Lucas, daughter Chastity Smith (Matt), son Ashley Morris (Jennifer). Grandchildren Aaron Griesel (Alexis), Aiselyn Cash, Abigayle Morris, Alexis Cash, Jessica Griesel, Megan Morris, Morgan Morris, Kallie Blaylock (Isiah), Cole Griesel, Ashlyn Cash. Great-Grandchildren: Aubree, Eliana, Emerie, Lyra. He was preceded in death by his Mom and Dad, Florence and George Morris, sisters Emily, Norma, and brother Duane Morris.