John Chapman Morris

John Chapman Morris

April 12, 1930 – January 1, 2010

John Chapman Morris, “Chappy,” of Fillmore passed away from cancer on January 1, 2010 at Cottage Hospital in Santa Barbara at the age of 79. He was surrounded by his immediate family.
Chappy was born in Fillmore, California on April 12, 1930 to parents William L. Morris and Verna Bertine Hansen. He was the youngest of three with an older brother, William L. Morris, Jr. and a sister, Virginia. He attended Fillmore Elementary School and graduated from Fillmore High School in 1948. From there he did a stint at the University of Southern California (USC), where he was a member of the Sigma Chi Fraternity, and remained until he was drafted to the Army in 1954. He later returned to USC where he majored in business and liberal arts. After college he made the decision to make his permanent home in Fillmore, joined the family automobile business, William L. Morris Chevrolet, and has resided there ever since.
In 1958, Chappy married Geraldine Doud, “Jeri,” of Oxnard, California. They were married for almost 50 years. He was a true entrepreneur and diversified from the automobile business to farming, real estate and, in 1973, started Fillmore Area Transit Corporation. It quickly grew from hauling 1,300 passengers per month to 22,000. He loved his community and was an active member and former president of Rotary, Jr. and Sr. Chamber of Commerce, Fillmore High School Alumnae and the May Festival. Chappy was also an active member of Rancheros Vistadores, Campo Adolfo, and Rancheros Adolfo, a Ventura County men’s horseback riding club. He enjoyed riding with his father, father-in-law, brothers-in-law, sons, sons-in-law, and numerous relatives.
Giving back to the community was very important to Chappy, and he generously supported many local groups and charities including St. Augustine Academy, St. Thomas Aquinas College, Adopt-A-Family, Feed the Children,
St. Francis of Assisi, and San Salvador Mission, to name a few.
He is survived by his four children: Laurie Morris Smith of San Clemente, John Chapman Morris, Jr. of Ventura, Tina Morris Thomson of Pasadena and William L. Morris, III of Fillmore; sons in law David B. Smith and John E. Thomson; daughters in law Lori Morris and Shelly Morris. He is preceded in death by his wife, Jeri.
“Pappy” as he was known by his grandchildren Chasen, Brennan and Lauren Smith, Sydney and Maggie Morris, Katie and Charlie Thomson and Hunter, Grant and Griffin Morris will forever be remembered as the family patriarch. They will especially cherish the special times they spent with their grandpa picking avocados and watercress on the family ranch, riding horses, family trips to the Alisal Guest Ranch and his special recipe for homemade beef jerky. He also leaves behind his beloved and loyal Australian Shepherd, LeRoy.
The Rosary will take place at St. Francis of Assisi Parish in Fillmore on Thursday, January 7, 2010 at 7:00 pm. A service celebrating Chappy’s life will be held on Friday, January 8, 2010 at 11:00 am at Santa Clara Catholic Church, 323 South E. Street in Oxnard.
The family asks that in lieu of flowers charitable donations be made to St. Augustine Academy, reference
J. Chapman Morris Scholarship Fund/Foundation, 130 South Wells Road, Ventura, CA 93004 (805) 672-0411.