Morris A. Thomson, 98, of Austin Texas, passed away on November 28, 2019, at the Renaissance Retirement Center. He was born on October 31, 1921, in Platte, South Dakota to Ted and Josie (Paulson) Thomson, in the house where his father had been born, on his grandfather’s homestead. Morris spent his remaining growing up years in the Platte area. He attended a one-room schoolhouse for his first eight years of school and then went to Platte high school, graduating in 1939.
In 1940, Morris had the opportunity to catch a ride to Tacoma, Washington where he had relatives, and where there was work. On the way, they had a head-on collision, ending up in Yakima WA, where in church one evening he met his future wife, Elaine Wordelman. In 1941, the U.S. had entered WWII, so in the spring of 1942, at age 20, Morris volunteered to become an Air Cadet. He attended college classes until he was called up for active duty on January 1, 1943. After his aviation training, Morris was commissioned a 2nd Lt. and became the navigator of crew #57 in the 714th squadron of the 448th Heavy Bombardment Group and sent to an airbase in Norfolk, England. His tour of duty consisted of 30 bombing missions over Europe, including flying on the first daylight bombing raid of Berlin, and the 6:00 a.m. “D Day” bombing mission on June 6, 1944, providing advance support of the U.S. soldiers landing on Omaha Beach. On one mission all the planes in their squadron were shot down except theirs. Upon returning to the U.S., Morris received the Distinguished Flying Cross, 6 Air medals, and 5 Campaign Medals, and was promoted to the rank of Captain.
In May of 1945, he was discharged from the service, and reunited with Elaine, resulting in a wedding on June 4, 1945 in Yakima, Washington, and 64 wonderful years of marriage. They moved to Pullman, Washington where Morris received his Bachelor of Science in Agriculture and his Master of Science in Agriculture at Washington State University. Morris spent 35 years employed with Delmonte Corporation, where he initially worked in research, and developed a new variety of peach which was patented by Delmonte and named the Thomson Early Elberta peach. In 1965, he was asked to move to the Philippines as manager of research and development for the Philippine Packing Corp. He and Elaine lived there for two years. They then spent the next nine years working & living in Venezuela and Mexico City, with their last stop in London, where Morris was Director of Production for Mexico, Central America, and Panama. He retired from Delmonte in 1981.
In 1983, they moved to McKinney, Texas to be near their son, Rick, and his family. Morris loved hunting, fly fishing, a good round of golf, and spending time with his grandkids. In 2004, Morris and Elaine followed their family to Austin Texas where they joined Bethany United Methodist Church and attended the “searchers” Sunday school class. They moved into the Renaissance Retirement Community where Morris enjoyed discussing current events and playing poker and bingo with his Renaissance buddies. He also enjoyed making robots for his great grandkids, attending all their activities, and flying his favorite drones to the delight of all.
Morris is survived by his sister, Phyllis Mace of Tyndall, S.D., his daughter-in-law Beverly Thomson, granddaughter Amy and husband Todd Stewman, grandson Brian and wife Susan Thomson, and five special great-grandchildren, all residing in Austin.
He was preceded in death by his parents, wife, Elaine (April 2009); son, Rick (Nov. 1994); and two brothers, Ed and Tom Thomson of Platte South Dakota.
A memorial service will be held at Bethany United Methodist Church in Austin at a later date. Interment was held December 4, 2019 at Ridgeview Memorial Park, 2525 Central Expressway North, Allen, Texas 75013.
We so fondly remember Morris and Elaine from the years we lived in Eldorado. Unfortunately we are just now reading of Morris' passing, or we would have attended the gravesite service. We send our deepest sympathy and prayers to his family. Marci & Keith Meyer, December 4, 2019