Father Joseph William Morris, SJ, former teacher and administrator at Bellarmine College Prep, San Jose, and pastor at churches in Santa Barbara, Phoenix, and Utah, died August 26, 2021, at his residence at Sacred Heart Jesuit Center, Los Gatos. He was 95 years old and recently celebrated his 75th anniversary as a Jesuit.
He was born in Los Angeles October 17, 1925, the son of William Morris and Marie Kanne Morris. He graduated from St. Anthony’s High School, Long Beach, attended Loyola University (now Loyola Marymount), and served in the Navy, 1944-46. He then entered the Jesuit novitiate at Los Gatos in August 1946 to begin studies for the priesthood.
His studied philosophy at Gonzaga University (1950-53), and theology at Santa Clara University (1956-60). Before his theology studies, he taught English at Bellarmine College Prep, San Jose (1953-56). He was ordained a priest in Blessed Sacrament Church, Hollywood, on June 17, 1959.
Fr. Morris returned to Bellarmine Prep as a teacher in 1961. For seven years he also served as director of admissions. Leaving high school work in 1976, he began 35 years of pastoral ministry at a series of locations: Our Lady of Sorrows Church, Santa Barbara (1976-86), St. Francis Xavier Church, Phoenix (1987-93), pastorship of Good Shepherd Church, East Carbon, Utah (1993-2003), chaplaincy at St. Joseph’s Health and Retirement Center, Ojai, CA (2004-08), and pastoral ministry in the Santa Barbara area (2008-11). His last years were spent in a ministry of prayer at Sacred Heart Jesuit Center, where he had begun his Jesuit journey.
Early in his training, Fr. Morris learned American Sign Language, and ministered to the deaf community. He had an outgoing, gregarious personality, and would incorporate a joke or story into his well-received homilies. He loved to entertain the community at the piano and kept up his hobby of painting.
Fr. Morris was predeceased by his sister, Marie Peek. He is survived by a niece, Marlys Dinneen, of Westminster, Calif.
Funeral Mass will be held at Sacred Heart Jesuit Center, Thursday, September 9, 2021, 11:15 am. Inurnment will follow at Santa Clara Mission Cemetery. Due to COVID restrictions, in-person attendance will not be open to the public, but the funeral will be livestreamed. Please click here to view Mass.