Former Rocky View County reeve, farmer dies at 95
Thursday, Jan 23, 2014 12:18 pm
On Christmas day, Rocky View County lost a former reeve and longtime farmer as Allen “Pete” Morison, 95, passed away in his sleep.
Morison had many roles in his life: farmer, politician, horse racer and family man. But perhaps the most meaningful role was that of devoted husband to Bernie, also a longtime area resident.
“When you do a story on dad it’s hard not to bring mom into it,” said his son Howard.
At the age of 26, Morison joined the Royal Canadian Navy and served with Bernie’s brother. Along the way the two men got talking and Morison asked if the brother thought Bernie might go out with him. Howard said he’s not sure of the particulars but Morison and Bernie got in touch and the spark was lit.
“Because it was wartime, they had a very short engagement,” Howard said, adding the courting process was also not very long.
Short engagement or not, the couple found something great together and spent 66 years as man and wife before Bernie passed away after a battle with Alzheimer’s disease in 2011.
“He always said he wouldn’t have been able to build the farm without her,” Howard said of his father. “When she passed away, he just missed her so much.”
Bernie and Morison built a farm together, they had three children – two sons and a daughter – seven grandchildren, and 10 great grandchildren.
The couple was an avid fan of horse racing and bought a few horses to race in Calgary.
“He and my mom did so much together,” Howard said, adding both Morison and Bernie were involved in many community organizations over the years.
Morison served on the Airdrie Hall Board, was a leader of the Airdrie 4-H Beef Club, a member of the board for Airdrie United Church, and he served as councillor for the Municipal District of Rocky View from 1973 to 1989, and served one year as reeve and several as deputy reeve.
“He was easy to talk to and always positive about people in the county,” said current Rocky View County Councillor Lois Habberfield.
She said she remembered her father calling Morison as a county resident and she said the response Morison gave was always, ‘I’d be happy to help.’
“He was there for the right reasons,” she said of Morison. “He was very community-minded.”
Even with all he did in the community, the main focus always came back to farming.
“Mainly he was a farmer. Everything was about farming and family,” Howard said. “The farm was in his blood.”
Morison’s family moved from Scotia, Manitoba to the Airdrie district when he was just one-year -old and he spent the remainder of his 95 years in the area.
In 1946, Morison and Bernie bought 400 acres of farmland about seven miles west of Airdrie near the Goldenrod Community Hall and with hard work, they expanded the farm to more than 2,000 acres.
Howard said part of his success was Morison’s insight and forward thinking.
“He loved to try new things. On the farm he was always one of the first to try something new in the community,” Howard said.
Morison’s farm was a mixed farm with cattle and barley but Howard said the main focus was cattle.
“He never really retired. I can remember when he was 87 he was still out helping me fence,” Howard recalled fondly.
About 20 years ago, Morison split the farm and gave it to his two sons. However, he was still always concerned about how the farm was doing, according to Howard.
“He was really quite generous, so generous to my brother and I. He just wanted us to succeed to badly.”
Morison also stayed involved in 4-H through his grandchildren.
“One thing that really stands out is our kids were always involved in 4-H in the cattle end of it, and he’d never miss a show,” Howard said. “He was quite proud of his grandkids.”
Prior to his passing, Morison had been in the hospital for a few days after undergoing an operation on a hernia. The family picked him up from the hospital Dec. 24, 2013, and took him to his home at the Bethany Care Centre in Airdrie where he passed during the night.
“It’s different without him,” Howard said, “but I guess it will go on.” go on.”