Theodore Franklin Morris

Theodore Franklin Morris

1922 - 2019

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Theodore Franklin

Obituary of Theodore Franklin Morris

With sadness the family of Theodore Franklin Morris (Ted) announces his death on January 29th, 2019. Caring husband for 46 years of Elizabeth (deceased, née Sawers), Ted is survived by his children Margaret (Harry Connors), Jennifer (John Goudey), Charles (Joan McBride), Susan (Kevin Arp); grandchildren Michael Connors (Amanda Labonté), Maryam Connors, Rachel Morris (Denis Tessier), Ruth Morris (Adam Polka), Christine Morris (Darren Klenk), Franklyn (Franky) Morris (Vanessa Collins), Liam Arp, Ceilidh Arp; great-grandchildren Andrew Connors, Dianna Connors, Xavier Tessier, Zachary Tessier; sister-in-law Ruth Townsend. 

Born in Toronto in 1922, Ted had an early interest in radio and a capacity for mathematics. He studied mathematics and physics at the University of Toronto, completing his Ph.D. in Mathematics with a focus on theoretical physics in 1948 (his thesis was titled Quantum Electrodynamics). In 1946 Ted was U of T’s chess champion and could still checkmate his grandchildren in the final year of his life. Between degrees Ted contributed to the war effort working on the first production line in Canada to make all-glass miniature vacuum tubes for radios in tanks. Upon gradation Ted lectured in mathematics at Carleton. In 1949 he married Elizabeth, accepted a position at McGill University and moved to Montreal after a honeymoon trip out west that included a mathematical conference.

In his early years Ted taught calculus to engineers, elementary quantum mechanics to chemists, and graduate and undergraduate mathematical methods in physics; later on, Ted supervised many graduate students and taught astronomy and astrophysics. Ted had a keen interest in Astronomy. For many years he was a member of the Montreal Center of the Royal Astronomical Society of Canada, and he served a term as its president. He is noted for determining why two faint star clusters are the “missing” Messier objects M47 and M48. He was also the second graduate of the Astronomical Society’s Messier Club, making him one of the very first people in the world in the 20th century to observe all the Messier objects. Ted also had an interest in botany, and was involved in the oversight of McGill’s Galt Estate on Mont Saint-Hilaire. Many family weekend outings were spent hiking the trails in the woods around the lake atop the mountain.

Ted enjoyed travel, and took the family on many trips, including to all ten provinces. The most memorable trip was overseas: 10 weeks driving his family of six around Great Britain and Europe. Following the death of his wife Elizabeth, Ted returned to Toronto. He lived independently, still driving his own car, until 3 years ago when he moved into a senior’s residence.  After several weeks of declining health, Ted died peacefully in his sleep on January 29th of this year.

Ted’s love of chess, Go, travel, astronomy, botany, and mathematics has been passed on in many ways to his children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren. These are gifts for which we will always be grateful.  The family will gather for Ted’s interment next to his wife Elizabeth this spring in Watford Ontario. Donations in Ted’s memory may be made to: St Mary Magdalene Anglican Church in Picton Ontario, and Trinity College, University of Toronto.