Conservationist Stuart G. Morris, whose name had become synonymous with the growing strength of the Severn River Association, was found dead Saturday in his Annapolis home. He was 63.
He had been ill for about three weeks.
His wife of 40 years, the former Eleanor Burwell, said he probably died between late Thursday and Saturday. She was working on a house in West River where the couple were planning to move and had not been at their Annapolis home for several days.
Fellow conservationists said Mr. Morris' legacy will be the dramatic membership growth of the SRA, which made it one of the most powerful civic coalitions in the state. They attributed that growth to his skills as a salesman, his intense promotion of the group and his persistence in pursuing new members.
In 1984, the coalition had barely 200 members. Today, it has 116 member civic associations and about 640 individual members, among them some of Anne Arundel County's most influential politicians.
"Stuart would scan the crowd and look for people who were potential members," said Steve Carr, a Democratic activist and the SRA's former legislative lobbyist. "As a result of that, most of the politicians, most of the Indian chiefs and the bankers and lawyers were members."
Mr. Morris planted trees, wrote newsletters, arranged for speakers and kept track of members. He often said that a dedicated SRA member should do something each day for the coalition.
At one time or another, he held almost every position in the organization, one of the oldest in the country dedicated to the protection of a river, and was serving his third term as president.
He was born in Washington, D.C., and graduated from St. Paul's School in Brooklandville. He served in the Army from 1949 to 1952 and graduated from the Johns Hopkins University with a civil engineering degree in 1957.
Other survivors include four children, Anne Morris of Annapolis, Cynthia Morris of Largo, Fla., Sally Morris of Boston and Stuart Morris Jr. of Hyattsville.
Services were to be held at 11 a.m. today at Christ Episcopal Church in West River, where the Morrises were married.
Memorial donations may be made to the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty of Animals, 1815 Bay Ridge Ave., Annapolis 21403.