Philip K. Morris

[Age 93] A photographer who captured Lindbergh's and Orville Wright's images, he worked for NASA in the early 1960s.

He set up tracking stations in Bermuda, the Azores, the Canary Islands and Hawaii for NASA, family said.

April 26, 2008|By Jacques Kelly | Jacques Kelly,Sun reporter

Philip K. Morris, a retired commercial photographer who worked in space exploration in the 1960s, died of congestive heart failure Tuesday at College Manor in Lutherville. The former Rodgers Forge resident was 93.

Born in Baltimore and raised in Hamilton, he attended St. Dominic's Parochial School. He dropped out of high school to help support his family during the Depression. He wanted an education and took evening vocational classes offered by city public schools in 1937.

He joined his father and brothers at the Glenn L. Martin aircraft plant in Middle River. He initially served as a draftsman and worked with photography. On two occasions, he made photographs of two flight pioneers - Charles A. Lindbergh and Orville Wright - when they visited the aircraft plant accompanied by its founder, Glenn L. Martin.

Family said that when Bendix Radio Corp. wanted to open a commercial photography department, his boss recommended Mr. Morris.

He joined the Joppa Road radio technology firm and rose to become its photo director. In the 1940s, he frequently worked on classified communications projects for other defense contractors and was sent on assignments to remote locations. He traveled throughout the interior of the country on the project. In his spare time, he made photographs of often isolated railroad stations, which he later exhibited, including a 1945 prizewinner he titled Night Train, taken at McCook, Neb.

Mr. Morris employed Zeiss Icon and Leica 35 mm cameras for his work, said his son, Robert P. Morris of Glen Rock, Pa.

He also shot photos around Baltimore and visited the Baltimore & Ohio Railroad's Riverside roundhouse and shops off Fort Avenue. Years later, he exhibited his work at the Maryland Center for Public Broadcasting in Owings Mills.

Family members said that in the early 1960s, he worked for NASA, helping set up tracking stations in Bermuda, the Azores, the Canary Islands and Hawaii. He worked in optical telemetry for early satellite tracking missions. He also helped in manned space exploration missions, including the Mercury and Apollo efforts of the 1960s.

He competed in photography exhibitions and taught photography to private students.

In the late 1970s, Mr. Morris volunteered at Senior Digest magazine, where he was a staff photographer. He retired nearly 30 years ago.

His wife of 69 years, the former Alma Marie Zimmerman, died last year.

A memorial service will be held at 10 a.m. today at College Manor, 300 W. Seminary Ave., Lutherville.

In addition to his son, survivors include a daughter, Lynn Morris Jeppi of Ruxton; a brother, John Morris of Kingsville; five grandchildren; and four great-grandchildren.

jacques.kelly@baltsun.com

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