Paul Morrison Obituary

Paul F. Morrison
Paul F. Morrison

July 25, 1917 - November 30, 2017
Born in Des Moines, Iowa
Resided in Des Moines, Iowa
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Paul F. Morrison, fondly known to many as “Mr. Drake”, passed away on Thursday, Nov. 30, 2017, in Des Moines, Iowa after a brief illness. He was born on July 25, 1917 in Des Moines, Iowa and celebrated his 100th birthday earlier this summer at a large gathering with family and friends.
After graduating from Cedar Rapids Washington High School, Paul entered Drake University in 1935, following in the footsteps of his parents, Marion and Leonta, who met at Drake in 1902. After graduating in 1939 with a degree in journalism, Morrison served in the Army in the Pacific during World War II, ascending to the rank of sergeant. He was honored with a Bronze Star, recognizing his contributions as editor of a newspaper he started for the Army’s 6th Division. Upon his return from the war, he worked briefly for The Gazette in Cedar Rapids before being hired in 1945 as Drake's first full-time director of the news bureau. He served as sports information director, athletics ticket manager and athletics business manager during his career, retiring in 1986.
The day following his retirement, he returned to work as a full-time volunteer for the athletics department and continued to faithfully serve Drake and its student-athletes until his passing. He served as the Drake Athletics historian, amassing an incredible archive of material dating to Drake's earliest years and chronicling its modern successes. Those archival materials have been moved to Cowles Library Archives for improved preservation and are now available for the public to see.
Morrison received a number of honors from Drake University, the Missouri Valley Conference, College Sports Information Directors of America (CoSIDA) and the City of Des Moines for his selfless service, dedication, and focus on connecting with student-athlete letter winners and alumni over the decades. Among his many honors, Paul was one of the first two recipients of Drake’s Medal of Service award; the Missouri Valley Conference named The Paul Morrison Award of Merit after him to recognize individuals who have made significant contributions to their respective schools; and Forest Avenue, stretching from 25th Street to 30th Street, was named “Paul F. Morrison Way” in his honor.
Morrison attended more than 700 Drake football games, 80 Drake Relays, and his family legacy at Drake stretches more than a century, including 15 members of the Morrison family as Drake alumni. He was married to his wife, Pauline, in 1949 and enjoyed 42 years of marriage before she passed away in 1991. He was also preceded in death by a daughter, Mary.
Paul is survived by daughters, Jenine Steele and Holly Dierks, grandchildren, Laura Bednarek, Chris Steele, Abby Grassmeyer and Justin Dierks; great grandchildren Nikki and Hannah Bednarek and Grayson and Emerson Dierks, a sister, Lee Longman, a cousin, Harriet Macomber, nieces and nephews and many, many friends. He was preceded in death by his parents, two brothers and a sister.
Visitation will be Tuesday, Dec. 5, 2017, Dunn’s Chapel, 2121 Grand Ave., Des Moines, IA 50312, with family greeting friends from 4 to 7pm. Celebration of Life services will be Wednesday, 11am, Knapp Center, 25th Street and Forest Ave., Drake University. Burial with military honors will be at Glendale Cemetery, Des Moines.
In lieu of flowers, the family suggests donations be made to funds established at Drake University in Paul’s honor, the Paul F. Morrison Excellence Fund or the Paul Morrison Scholarship Fund, or to First Christian Church, 2500 Univ. Ave., Des Moines, IA 50311.





Dunn's Funeral Home
2121 Grand Avenue
Des Moines, IA US 50312
Tuesday, December 5, 2017
4:00 PM - 7:00 PM
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Knapp Center, Drake University
2601 Forest Avenue
Des Moines, Iowa USA 50311
Wednesday, December 6, 2017
11:00 AM
Glendale Cemetery
4909 University Avenue
Des Moines, IA 50311
Wednesday, December 6, 2017
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