Bessie Morrison


INDIANAPOLIS — Bessie Caroline May (Danielson) Morrison, 96, died Nov. 6, 2020 in Indianapolis, Indiana.
On May 24, 1924 Bessie was born in the bedroom of the family farm, the last of 14 children born into her family. She was christened at home with the county game warden serving as the witness. She attended District 66 school for lower grades and high school in Fergus Falls, Minnesota, from which she graduated in 1942.
Bess took a train to California to join her fiancé, Clifford Morrison, and she worked in a Boeing aircraft plant installing wiring in the rear “stinger” of B-17 bombers, because she was small enough to get into the places necessary. One of those jobs was wiring up the “heated suit” necessary for the rear tail gunner.
She and Clifford were married in October 1942 and moved back to Minnesota when he was drafted. They lived briefly in an apartment in Denver, Colorado, while Clifford was stationed at Lowry Air base. She returned to Minnesota when Clifford continued his military training at Officer Candidate School in New Haven, Connecticut. In 1944 Brad was born back in Fergus Falls in the old Wright Memorial Hospital, the same hospital Clifford had been born in 25 years earlier.
In the summer of 1948 she, Brad and Clifford moved to Rochelle so that Clifford could do vacation fill-in duty at the Standard Oil Bulk Plant terminal. While there they lived at the Charnock Trailer Park on the north edge of town (now occupied by a Shell Service Station).  At the end of summer, they returned to their house in Columbia Heights, Minnesota.
The next year they returned to Rochelle, this time “forever.”
Philip Morrison was born in September 1949. A short time later in the summer of 1950 they moved into the house on Ninth Street where they would live for 28 years before moving to the house on Knoll Drive in 1978.  
For most of her life Bess was a wife and mother staying at home to care for her family. When Philip was in second grade (1956) she became a secretary at Tilton Grade School. She worked there about five years, then she moved over to the new junior high school on the east side of town. She was there until shortly after Clifford retired from Standard Oil.
Cliff died in 1993, and Bess stayed in the Knoll Drive house until the summer of 2005. In 2011 she became the first person to move into a two-bedroom unit at San Gabriel Assisted Living. Five years later she moved to Magnolia Springs Senior Living in Carmel, Indiana, about 10 minutes from Phil and his family.
Bessie is survived by her sons, Bradford (Brenda) of Castle Rock, Colorado, and Philip (Nancy) of Noblesville, Indiana; grandson Brock Morrison; granddaughters, Melinda Fitzgerald, Ashley Carollo and Devon Smiddy; 11 great-grandchildren; and hundreds of friends in Illinois and Minnesota.
Due to COVID restrictions, there will be a private family burial service at Lawnridge Cemetery in Rochelle on Nov. 11. A Celebration of Life service will be scheduled for a later date.
Visit to sign the online guestbook.