Robert Lee Morris, born in 1920, grew up in Springfield, Missouri and graduated from the Naval Academy in 1943. At the height of World War II, he served on the Battleship Colorado as a young gunnery officer bombing Japanese defenses on Pacific islands such as Tarawa and Okinawa. He continued his naval career as a pilot flying anti-submarine patrol planes off the Atlantic coast and eventually commanded VP-56, a squadron of P2V patrol planes stationed in Norfolk that deployed to Rota, Spain. Later he navigated the Aircraft Carrier Essex during the naval blockade of Cuba in the 1963 Missile Crisis. After reaching the rank of Captain and representing the U.S. Navy in the British Commonwealth, he retired from a quarter-century of service to pursue a career in international business that took him to countries ranging from the United Kingdom and Italy to Libya, Nigeria, and the Philippines.
In retirement he and his wife, Mellie (also a Navy WWII veteran and avid traveler) lived first for 15 years in Norfolk and then for 22 years in Orange. She predeceased him in August 2017 after 70 years of marriage that had begun on the Western Pacific island of Guam.
He is survived by two children, Gretchen Stelling of Stanardsville, VA and Robert K. Morris of Reston, VA as well as two grandchildren, Alec Morris and Maggie Morris, also of Reston, VA.
A Graveside Service will be held on Thursday, November 7, 2019 at 11 a.m. at Culpeper National Cemetery with Pastor Jim Beavers officiating.