GALESBURG —John J. Morrison, 74, of Monmouth, passed away at 11:01 a.m., Tuesday, Jan. 12, 2016 at Galesburg Cottage Hospital, Galesburg.
John was born August 24, 1941 the son of Colonel John R. and C. Elizabeth Barbara (O’Malley) Morrison in Manhattan, Kansas. He was raised in Ottumwa, Iowa, and graduated from Walsh High School in 1959.
John was drafted into the U.S. Army in 1963 opting to serve his country in Vietnam in 1965, even though he was the sole surviving son, his father having been killed in action during World War II. John was a survivor of the Battle of the Ia Drang Valley, Nov. 1965, of which 4 books including “We Were Soldiers Once … And Young” were written and a movie, “We Were Soldiers Once” was made.
John married Jeanie Hunter in Oskaloosa, Iowa on Nov. 24, 1984 and she survives. Upon his return home, John was employed for a short time at John Deere before being hired by the Burlington Northern Railroad. He worked as a switchman/brakeman before retiring in 1991 as a conductor.
For a time he lived in in Kirkville, Iowa where he was elected Mayor. By using federal grants and obtaining financing John was able to get new streets, signs and fire and police protection.
He moved to Monmouth, transferring with the Burlington Northern R.R. in 1986. He was a life member of the Monmouth Veterans of Foreign Wars Post #2301, the Monmouth American Legion Post #136 and the Disabled American Veterans. He was active in many volunteering capacities starting as a baseball coach for the Little League in Ottumwa and continuing as a coach in youth organizations in Monmouth including the VFW, American Legion & Lions League. He volunteered as Assistant Superintendent at the Veterans Assistance Commission in Warren County for 20 years. He was a Past VFW Post #2301 Commander and three-time Commander of the American Legion Post #136, where he started the Sons of the American Legion. He served as District Baseball Chairman, District Chaplain, District Jr. Vice Commander & Firing Squad Commander. He was instrumental in the starting of the Saturday American Legion Hamburger Fry.
Survivors include his wife, Jeanie Morrison of Monmouth; children, Angie Cremer of Ottumwa, Travis Cremer of Geneva, Kelly (Eugene) Biddle of Lockhart Ala., John Morrison Jr. of Biggsville, and Lance (Danielle Foust) of Monmouth; grandchildren, Mathew Johnson, Jack Rauscher, Mitchell Schlote, Maggie Cremer, Morgan (Otto) Houk and Jocelyn Knapp; great grandchildren, Xavier Acosta, McKenzie Merida, Anthony Merida and Brandon Merida; his sister, Betsy Allen of Ottumwa; sister-in-law, Alice Hunter of Ottumwa; brother-in-law, Stephen Hunter of Denver, Colo.; nieces, Shannon Cowan, Erin Longdo and Kris (Guy) Brummerhop; nephews, Steven Longdo, Scott Hunter and Stephen Hunter.
He was preceded in death by his parents; brother-in-law, Douglas Hunter and nephew, Robert Allen
Funeral services will be 11 a.m. Friday, Jan. 15, 2016 at McGuire & Davies Funeral Home and Crematory, Monmouth. Burial with Military Honors by the Monmouth American Legion/VFW Honor Squad will be in Monmouth Cemetery. Visitation will be from 5 to 7 p.m. Thursday, Jan. 14, 2016 at the funeral home. Memorials may be given to the Monmouth American Legion Post #136. For more information or to leave an online condolence please visit, mcguireanddaviesfuneralhome.com.