Andrew John Morrow
June 12, 1912 - December 25, 2011
Longtime Madras area resident and rancher Andrew J. "Andy" Morrow died Dec. 25, 2011, at the age of 99.
Andy was born June 12, 1912, in Madras. At that time, the town, only 2 years old, was still in Crook County. Jefferson County was formed in 1914.
His father, Andrew Morrow, had been born in County Cavan, Ireland, and had come to the U.S. as a teenager. He came to Oregon via Wisconsin, Canada and California after leaving Ireland. At the time of Andy's birth, he was a highly successful rancher. Together with his childhood friend (and brother-in-law) James Keenan, he operated under the name Morrow and Keenan and Grizzly Livestock and Land Co. The business included a large farming operation and bands of sheep that ranged from the Blue Mountains to the Cascades.
Andy's mother, Emily G. Morrow ("Millie" to her friends) had been a teacher, born and raised in Ludington, Mich. She came to Central Oregon from Seattle, where she had been teaching, and first taught at Lamonta.
Andy Morrow in his younger years.
Andy's late brother Robert was born in 1914 and his sister Kathryn Morrow in 1916. Kathryn currently resides in Fremont, Calif., at the Motherhouse of her Catholic order, the Sisters of the Holy Family.
Andy attended Madras schools in first through seventh grades, attended the Grizzly School in eighth grade and then attended Madras High School. He was active in sports and lettered in football, basketball, baseball, tennis and track.
After graduating from high school, he attended Marquette University in Milwaukee, Wis., for one year and the University of Oregon for a year. He then transferred to Oregon Agricultural College (now Oregon State University) where he graduated in 1927 with a degree in forestry.
Following graduation, Andy worked first for the Forest Service in the Fremont National Forest and then for the Federal Grazing Service (which later became part of the Bureau of Land Management) at Burns and Vale, Ore. He served in the U.S. Navy during World War II.
After his discharge from the Navy, Andy returned to Madras and persuaded his brother Bob to join him in their own ranching operations as Morrow Brothers, on the home ranch at Grizzly. They raised dryland wheat, hay and cattle.
Morrow Brothers became well known for the quality of their operations, and won a number of conservation and other awards. Among those awards, Andy and Bob were recognized as Oregonian and Oregon Wheat Growers League Conservation Men of the Year for Jefferson County in 1949 and 1950; Jefferson County Cattlemen of the Year 1951-53 and Cattlemen of the Year for the state of Oregon in 1958.
Andy was president of the Jefferson County Livestock Association, the Oregon Wheat Growers League and Central Electric Coop, and served on the Oregon Wheat Commission and as the Oregon representative for Western Wheat, a tri-state marketing organization. He served on the board of Trout Creek Soil and Water Conservation District for many years.
In 1948, Andy married Margaret Mathis, a high school home economics teacher originally from Oklahoma, who had come to Oregon to teach in 1945. Margaret was a graduate of Oklahoma A and M, now Oklahoma State University. They had two sons, Andy Jr., born in 1952, and Dean, born in 1955. Margaret died in 2004.
As his children were growing up, Andy was active in community affairs as well as agriculture. He served on the Jefferson County School District 509-J School Board, and was an active parishioner at St. Patrick's Catholic Church from the founding of the parish, including serving for several years as the chairman of St. Patrick's Cowdeo, a community event that continues, although no longer associated with the parish.
He served as president of the Jefferson County Pioneer Association in 1972 and was recognized as Pioneer Man by the Association in 1992. He received a Certificate of Appreciation for his work with the Jefferson County Historical Society in 1991.
Throughout his long ranching career, Andy worked closely with the Oregon State Extension Service and was a charter member of the Alumni and Friends of the OSU College of Agricultural Sciences. He was recognized as a Diamond Pioneer by the College of Agricultural Sciences in 1987 and was named an honorary extension agent.
When it became apparent that neither of his sons was going to return to operate the family ranch, in 1999, Andy and Bob donated more than 4,000 acres, with buildings and equipment, which formed the core of the home ranch, to the Oregon State Foundation through a charitable remainder trust. At the conclusion of the trust in 2019, the assets will serve to support the program activities of a professorship in the College of Agricultural Sciences in connection with Jefferson County Agricultural Experiment Station and to fund OSU college scholarships for 4-H and FFA students from Jefferson County. A portion will also go to support the Sisters of the Holy Family.
Andy continued to manage and conduct conservation projects on the remaining land. He could be found on the property into his 90s with chainsaw in hand, clearing junipers to improve the land for grazing.
He continued to manage his own investments, to attend St. Patrick's Church, and to attend occasional civic events, as well as serving as a resource for those interested in the history of Jefferson County to the very end of his life.
He is survived by his sister, Sister Kathryn Morrow of Fremont, Calif.; and his two sons, Andrew J. Morrow Jr. of Portland, and Dean M. Morrow and wife Kathy of Salem; and grandchildren and their wives, Andrew Morrow III (Sarah) of Plymouth, N.H., Jacquelyn of Sayulita, Nayarit, Mexico, Sean of Portland, Chad (Kari) of Roseburg, and Nicholas and Kyle, both of Salem; and great-grandchildren Benedict and Charles, both of Plymouth, N.H.
He was preceded in death by his wife Margaret Morrow and his brother Robert Morrow, both of Madras.
A recitation of the rosary will be held at 7 p.m., Thursday, Dec. 29, at Bel-Air Colonial Chapel in Madras, and Mass of Christian burial will be at 10 a.m., Friday, Dec. 30, at St. Patrick's Catholic Church in Madras.
In lieu of flowers, his family suggests remembrances to the Jefferson County Historical Society. Arrangements are under the direction of Bel-Air Colonial Funeral Home of Madras.
There are two very distinct memories that stand out in my mind about this Man, even tho there were many over the years.
When I was a junior in high school our basketball team, after working in the potato processing plant during the summer, were priviledged to attend a tournament in a little town on the Big Island over the Christmas break,
It had been wiped out by a tidal wave a long time ago but the coconut trees had grown back and we all tried to climb them to no avail, but Andy did.
Damn I was in awe uv that fella.
Then we took a tour of the Big Island. There was a huge cattle ranch, a cupple of black sand beaches (that was impressive to this teenage hick), jungle stuff, almost desert stuff (they got cactus ova there, who'd a figgered) and active volcanos (that are really cool in a hot sorta way.)
We had ta walk out over the lava fields to git to the view point that looked down inta the very depths of Kilauea,
We finally made it to the viewpoint that looked straight down inta the depths of the molton mass. It was wooden and a bit rickity for my taste but I mustered up the courage to walk out and look down over the railings. Jeez it was awe inspiring to say the least, but it took a back seat to Andy.
That fella climbed up on top of the 2x6 railing and started snapping pictures as if hiz life depended upon it. Scared the crap outta me worrying he was gunna fall in and become instant fricassee. But he hopped down, no worse for wear, with the biggest grin on his face that I will ever hope to see.
Andy was, in his simple way, awesome at inspiring awe in the future generations that had the chance to see him in action.