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ZACHARY WILSON MORRIS

Bellville Times
 
In Memoriam
Zachary Wilson Morris
Born: July 30, 1986, Edmond, Okla. Died: Dec. 1, 2005, Boston, Mass.
Buried: Dec. 5, 2005, Pilgrim's Rest Cemetery, Austin County, Texas
Mother: Lisa A. Morris
Father: Michael Morris
Sisters: Allison Morris, Abigail Bonnell (Norman, Okla.)
Grandparents: Betty and Ebbie Wilson, Brenham; Raymond and Lois Morris (both
deceased), Oklahoma City, Okla.
Best Friends: Sam Elick, Michael Niehuus
Because Zach is who he is, he was able to complete his work here on earth
quickly, and was summoned home by the Lord much sooner than we could have
expected.
Zachary was a 2005 graduate of Bellville High School, Bellville, Texas, and
had entered the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Cambridge,
Mass., in September 2005. He was Salutatorian of his graduating high school
class, president of the Student Council and named "Mr. Bellville High
School" at his senior class prom.
Zachary was active in many student activities and organizations, among them
the National Honor Society, Latin Club, Science Club (president), the
school's "Hoofbeat" newspaper, Yearbook staff and represented the school in
numerous UIL competitions. He regularly brought UIL medals home.
He was awarded "Academic Excellence" all four years of high school, was a
member of the CX Debate Team and Robotics Team, also representing Bellville
High School as a member of its Science Olympiad team, which was awarded
first place in Texas State Regional Competition.
Zachary attended Texas Boys State in 2004 and was elected to the House of
Representatives there in Austin, Texas.
He was active in the non-denominational Christian organization, Bellville
Young Life, throughout his high school years and, as always, gave 100
percent of himself to the group. He was a volunteer and leader in Young
Life's companion organization, Wyldlife, helping younger, junior high school
students with life's lessons.
Zachary is remembered as a charming young man, intellectually gifted, able
to lift spirits with his winning smile, self confidence and thoughtful
consideration for others.
He remains, forever, in the hearts of all who know and love him.
The following is reprinted with permission from the MIT student newspaper,
"The Tech," Dec. 6, 2005 issue.MorrisIn a school where the pressure is
intense and workload oppressive, Zachary Morris │was just like a complete
breath of fresh air,▓ remembered his friend Kathryn M. Routhier ╣09.
Morris, 19, who died from an accidental fall last Thursday, was a young man
whose energy and curiosity defied the limits of sleep, work, and sometimes
even common sense. Born in Oklahoma but raised in Texas, he was a diehard
Longhorns fan with a Lonestar State twang. He was also │a true gentleman,▓
said Kalvin D. Kao OO8.
He was always hatching new ideas and new adventures. You might ask him a
question, and he would give you a crazy answer just plausible enough it
could seem right, Routhier said.
│There were just some things < we were like, OZach, you made this up,╣▓ said
Angela L. Cantu ╣09.
Morris was a person lucky enough to be blessed with the ability to enjoy
life, finish his work, and still wake up early in the morning ready for an
adventure.
Of course, if you were good friends with Zach, that could mean you╣d also be
going on an early morning adventure.
│He actually banged on my door at nine in the morning to get me to go▓ to a
Harvard vs. Princeton football game, recalled Amanda E. Baker ╣08. At the
game, she remembered saying how it might have been nice to go to Harvard
instead of MIT, but Morris │didn╣t share that opinion at all.▓
│He╣d always say he was Ofixin╣ to do something╣▓ in a Texas twang, said
Luke H. Harris ╣08.
When Morris was fixin╣ to make something happen, that often meant a party
was in the works, noted Ryan L. Brunswick ╣09. That, or a spontaneous
pilgrimage on a │Mecca McDonald╣s run▓ for a Big Mac early in the morning,
like the one Brunswick, Morris, and a friend took in Montreal on a trip with
the Lambda Chi Alpha fraternity.
If he couldn╣t convince anyone to wake up early for breakfast, or go out on
an adventure, Morris wasn╣t afraid of heading out on his own. One day,
Routhier said, she called Morris up to go out for dinner, but he said he
couldn╣t come because he was at a party in Princeton. │I saw you two hours
ago!▓ she told him, wondering how he managed to magically end up in New
Jersey.
│I think he was probably MIT╣s best bullrider,▓ said Tai C. Conley ╣08,
describing how Morris managed to stay on an electric bull even at the
highest speed.
Michael Morris, Zach╣s father, remembered him in part as an avid moviegoer,
who always had to see a good movie on opening day, when it was still fresh.
Morris would often go to the movies on his own, disappearing with little
notice and coming back as if nothing had happened, Routhier said.
Cantu recalled one night when she, Morris, and Routhier were returning from
Quizno╣s, and Morris said, │You know, there╣s the basement in the Infinite,▓
and we should explore it. She told him that they would get lost, but he
insisted that he had seen │some door that he said he was sure was an
entrance to Baker▓ through the basement. The next night, Morris ventured out
on his own in search of a secret passage to west campus, as far as we know,
without success.
│He never took the beaten path,▓ Michael Morris said. He told a story of how
on one skiing trip, he said to Zach, "'Zach, let╣s stay on the trail,╣ but
he wouldn╣t stay on the trail. He would insist on skiing through the trees.▓
│Zach always did what Zach wanted to do,▓ he said.
An uncanny knack for friendship
Having an independent streak didn╣t stop Morris from connecting with
everyone around him.
│Zach╣s life was all about inclusion, never exclusion,▓ Michael Morris said.
Harris, who is studying at MIT while Tulane University recovers from
Hurricane Katrina, said that Morris │had an uncanny ability to make friends▓
and helped introduce him to people at MIT. │It just always seemed like he
knew everybody ... Everywhere we went he would know somebody,▓ even if it
was just one person. │From the day I got here it was like that.▓
│I don╣t know anyone who didn╣t like him,▓ Routhier said, and Morris would
say hello to everyone. After greeting some random person in a hallway, │I╣d
say, OZach, who was that?╣ He╣d say, OI don╣t know.╣▓
At least a part of Morris╣ magic was a constant enthusiasm for meeting new
people.
Routhier and Cantu first heard from Morris because he had created a group on
the Facebook for all freshmen temporarily housed on the first floor of the
Baker dormitory, and he convinced them to join.
Kao first met Morris when he arrived several days early for Campus Preview
Weekend, characteristically enthusiastic and raring to go. Kao was walking
down the Infinite and was introduced to Morris when he stopped to say hello
to a friend talking to Morris.
Baker had already heard of Morris from her fraternity friends by the time
fall rolled around. She said they had described him as a tall, blond
prefrosh, │pretty good looking, especially for MIT,▓ with a striking
resemblance to the main character of Saved by the Bell. One day early in the
fall, she saw this blond kid standing outside the Student Center looking
confused, so she walked up to him and asked if he was Zach. She had guessed
right, and she said they joked about it later on.
Humor, especially to brighten someone╣s day, was a strength for Morris.
│If you were bogged down he would crack a joke▓ and cheer you up, Cantu
said.
In his quest for a laugh, Morris also brought to bear his Texas upbringing.
He would greet Cantu and Routhier with │Hey, oranges▓ or │Hey, little girls▓
with typical Texan charm.
│He would always say │come on y╣all,╣ all in one word,▓ Baker remembered.
Morris also had his physical gags, with a special wink-wink and raised
eyebrow for Baker, or would call out │hammer time▓ for him and a friend to
cross forearms as if in a mock struggle.
Morris │willingly accepted any challenge put before him,▓ and was living his
dream by coming to MIT, his father said. His friends described him as
curious about everything, always interested in learning about a major at
MIT.
│He told me that he wanted to be in a research environment and he wanted to
be around brilliant people,▓ his father said. Morris was interested in AIDS
research, he said.
But whether Morris would have settled for just one challenge, just one
company to found, just one field to study, is a question that will be left
unanswered.
Morris╣s father said that about 500 people attended a memorial service for
Morris this weekend, traveling from many states to share their stories of
him < and it is memories of Morris as a friend, leader, partyer, and avid
learner that will remain.
│I will never forget Halloween night when he and I went as the Wedding
Crashers,▓ wrote Casey L. Adkisson ╣08 in an e-mail. │We both dressed in
tuxes and went around introducing ourselves as Bobby O╣Shea and Shamus
O╣Toole. Good times ... He will be missed by all.▓
Posted by Joy Neely

 

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