William F. Morrison Jr., 80, veteran and wine salesman


William Frank Morrison Jr., a decorated World War II combat veteran and retired wine salesman, died of pneumonia related to emphysema Wednesday at Baltimore Washington Medical Center. The Crofton resident was 80.

Born in Baltimore and raised in Mount Washington, he attended Robert Poole Junior High School and was a 1943 City College graduate.

"He joined the Maryland State Guard when he was 17 because he was too young to serve" in the Army Air Forces, said his son, William Frank Morrison III of Crofton. "Then, on his 18th birthday, he enlisted.

"While he was in high school he put out a newsletter he distributed around the neighborhood about the war and he made complex maps of European battlefields," his son said.

Mr. Morrison trained as a gunner and bombardier at Keesler Army Air Field in Biloxi, Miss., before being assigned to Bassingbourn Air Force Base in England in 1944.

A member of the 91st Air Group, Mr. Morrison flew 29 combat missions over German targets.

"All he had to guide him was a bomb scope and a map," his son said.

Mr. Morrison achieved the rank of sergeant in 1945 after saving the life of a fellow crewman after their plane was hit by enemy fire.

"The cold air came into the plane, and his friend was wounded and passing out from the exposure. My father kept him warm with his coat and saved his life," his son said. "The fellow called him each year on the anniversary date for 30 years and thanked him for what he had done."

Among Mr. Morrison's decorations was the Army's Air Medal with four Oak Leaf Clusters.

In later years, Mr. Morrison collected books about World War II and wrote a memoir of his experiences that he presented to the Library of Congress.

After the war, Mr. Morrison purchased the Chestnut Cafe in Hampden and operated it for 11 years, until 1959. He then joined Kronheim Liquors as a wine salesman, a post he held until his 1977 retirement. For several years, he held a second job tending bar at the old Love's Restaurant in Charles Village and at Pellington's Iron Horse Restaurant in Lutherville's Yorkridge Shopping Center.

"My father did not like beer and rarely drank liquor," his son said. "He liked Bordeaux wines and visited France on numerous occasions."

After retirement, he sailed to the Caribbean with friends. He lived in San Francisco and Fort Lauderdale, Fla., before returning to Crofton in 2002. He was also interested in historic lighthouses and was a past information director of the U.S. Lighthouse Society.

Services are private.

In addition to his son, survivors include another son, Robert K. Morrison; a daughter, Cathy Lynn Patrick, both of Crofton; 15 grandchildren; and four great-grandchildren. His 1948 marriage to the former Dona Lou Kirk ended in divorce.


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