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Memorial for the late emeritus professor Robert D. Morrow scheduled for Sept. 13

Aug 15, 2014

Robert D. Morrow, emeritus professor of education and staunch Stockton community literacy champion, passed away July 8, 2014, at the age of 82. There will be a memorial service to celebrate his life and memory in Morris Chapel at 10:30 a.m. on September 13, followed by a reception at the Alex and Jeri Vereschagin Alumni House.  

Morrow's life was committed to education. For more than 40 years he was an educator and advocate, serving as an elementary school teacher, a director and training coordinator for Head Start, and a Pacific professor for 28 years in the Gladys L. Benerd School of Education.  

Even after his retirement from Pacific, he continued to advocate for early literacy, including supporting former Stockton mayor Ann Johnston's Read to Me Stockton program, serving as regional director for the Bring Me A Book Foundation and speaking out with regularity on education issues in the opinion pages of the Stockton Record.  

"Education was the only way out for someone in my circumstances," Morrow said in a fall 2011 interview for the School of Education's ConnectEd newsletter.  

Morrow was born November 7, 1931, into a family of 10 children in upstate New York at the beginning of the Great Depression. His upbringing was marked with the tragic death of his mother at the young age of eight. He was raised in a succession of foster homes where there were no books and little educational nurturing. It was at school, he said, where he found the kind of structure and support that was missing at home, and it was the example of these mentors that awakened him to his potential and instilled a desire and love for learning. Reading opened up his world, and that appreciation for the power of the printed word to impact lives became the foundation of his lifelong passion for literacy.  

After a four-year stint in the United States Air Force, he enrolled in college on the GI Bill, earning a degree in journalism from Ohio University. After two years as an advertising copywriter, he went back to school for a teaching credential. He spent five years teaching elementary school and then took a position with Head Start, where he was a director and trainer. He won a fellowship to the University of Illinois and earned his doctorate in early childhood special education.  

Morrow was hired at Pacific in 1975. He was a skilled communicator and a compassionate teacher who made an effort to recognize each student as an individual. He taught by example the skills and attitudes students would need to become effective teachers. He loved advising freshmen and getting to know them and their families and delighted in the long-lasting relationships he developed with students that continued throughout their lives. At his retirement in 2002, he was awarded the Order of Pacific, the University's highest honor.  

He was also honored as Literacy Champion of the Year by San Joaquin A+ at their annual Spirit of Literacy Gala Dinner in October 2013 for his many contributions.  

He is survived by his wife of 27 years, Pamela Cook, who attended the Benerd School of Education and is the co-owner of the Rainbow School in Stockton; three children, including  a daughter, Jennifer Rollins Gil '04 PHS, and son, Paul Rollins '04 COP; and two grandchildren.  

The family has requested that in lieu of flowers, memorial gifts may be made to the Bob Morrow Memorial fund, supporting the Gladys L. Benerd School of Education, or a charity of your choice. For more information, contact Stacy Erickson, director of development, at 209.946.7720.

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