Terrell (TJ) Jeptha Morris, Jr
Terrell (TJ) Jeptha Morris, Jr, affectionately called Brother, passed away after a valiant battle with cancer at the age of 76 on October 16, 2022 in Houston, Texas. Born on November 16, 1945 to the late Terrell Morris, Sr. and Vola Marshall Morris, TJ grew up in Geneva, Alabama where he excelled in football and baseball, graduating from Geneva High School with the class of 1964. Over five decades later, he would be honored for his achievements on the playing field with his induction into Geneva High School Sports Hall of Fame in 2020. Recruited by Coach Paul “Bear” Bryant to play football for the University of Alabama, he was a member of the team that won the NCAA National Championship in 1965. Brother went on to graduate from Troy State College where he helped the football team win the 1968 NAIA National Championship. After several years in California, he pursued a peripatetic life, traveling in the US and Europe. TJ eventually made his home in Oregon–first in Portland, then in Rockaway Beach–where he enjoyed many happy years hiking in the mountains, strolling on the beach, and passing time with his numerous friends. A few months before his death, stomach cancer forced TJ to part from the waves and bracing ocean breeze of his beloved home on the Oregon coast for Houston. There he spent his final days making precious memories with his son and daughter-in-law.
Brother worked hard throughout his life, but he was more than his job. Much more. He was an artist—a painter, a drawer, and a woodworker who once carved by hand a full-sized canoe from a single log. He was an amateur numismatist, seemingly determined to amass the world’s largest collection of quarters. Gifted with a magical green thumb, he was an avid gardener who made a reputation for himself among friends and neighbors for his monkey puzzle trees which he readily shared with others. Selfless almost to a fault, he was a generous spirit who was always willing to lend a helping hand to anyone who needed a room painted or a lawn mowed. He was a lover of the outdoors who, although well into his 60s and having just recovered from bypass surgery, biked down the West Coast alone. And he was a Sudoku master who puzzled out solutions every day for years up until the very end, completing his final puzzle mere hours before closing his eyes for last time. Terrell, TJ, Brother was all of this and more to those who were blessed to have known him. Much more.
TJ was proceeded in death by his sister, Sandra Morgan, and his baby daughter, Bobbie Renae Morris. He is survived by his son, Terrell (Chip) Evans (Jane), of Houston, Texas; his daughter, Brigette Brescia (Richard),of Portland, Maine; his grandchildren, Jack Evans and Bennett Evans of Houston, Texas and Maddie Brescia and Ryan Brescia of Portland, Maine. He is also survived by his sister, Rebecca Morris Campbell of Fayetteville, North Carolina and his nieces and nephews, Matthew Morgan of San Francisco, California; Josh Morgan of Riverside, California; Camilo Estremadoiro of Kansas City, Missouri; and Mary Campbell (Thomas) of Berlin, Germany. Brother also leaves behind many treasured friends from Geneva and Rockaway Beach, in particular, Jeanie Hatcher Neil with whom he shared a special and enduring bond.
I was blessed with a neighbor who became a good friend. TJ stepped into my life as I was winding down from years of difficult times. We walked the hills and beaches of Rockaway Beach together on a regular basis for years. TJ helped me out in the yard and I made sure he got fed. We had many deep discussions about life. TJ and I had a real connection. One day he came over telling me he got a new plant and he just had to show me what it was. Before we got to his greenhouse he asked me to guess what it was. My first and only guess was a Venus Flytrap. He was dumbfounded and couldn’t figure out how I guessed. Sometimes people are simply connected. I missed TJ when I moved from the coast, but he was and will always be part of my heart. I highly suspect we will be crossing paths again one day.TJ, if you can hear me now wherever you are, you are loved. And thank you for being a real friend.
TJ was our neighbor in Rockaway Beach. He was one of our best friends. we so enjoyed sitting on the bench by the beach, talking with him, or having him over to eat with us, sitting on the porch sharing stories or happenings of the day. he was always there to help us when we needed him. I love plants too and it was fun sharing cuttings of different plants with him and him with me. We miss you TJ.