Richard Morris was born on August 16, 1943 in Pittsburgh where his grandfather worked in a steel mill. He spent his school years in Cleveland. His mother was a school teacher, and his father, a chemical engineer and pig iron salesman.
Morris graduated from Haverford College in sociology and Harvard University in production and worked in various areas of the housing industry, designing and building custom homes, doing research, and writing three books and numerous magazine and newspaper articles on topics related to building codes: energy conservation, frost-protected shallow foundation design and construction (www.toolbase.org/PDF/FieldEvaluations/NAHB_fpsf.pdf) , lead paint and remodeling, and universal design (www.hcd.ca.gov/codes/shl/pa036401_attach_1d.pdf).
While studying medical sociology at Case-Western Reserve University in Cleveland in 1965, he worked in Carl Stokes’ first campaign for mayor of Cleveland and sang in the Cleveland Orchestra Chorus under Robert Shaw. He now entertains residents of Alzheimer’s and assisted living units of a life-care facility by belting out a cappella baritone solos.
As a second lieutenant rifle platoon leader in the 1st Cavalry Division (Airmobile) in Vietnam, 1967-1968, he learned first-hand about the startling tactics, spit-shined jungle boots, and fight songs of the Vietnam War.
He wrote twenty-five songs in Vietnam (lyrics at www.vietwarsongs.com). As the official 2/5 battalion songwriter, he wrote Saddle Up, Black Knights for the battalion commander, Col. Love, which reflected the cavalry history of the unit. Contact Morris to buy a copy. One of his songs, “Diggin A Hole“, received a Finalist award in the Vocal Jazz & Blues category of the 23rd Annual Mid-Atlantic Song Contest in December 2006. Songs such as “The Chaplain” and “Counting Bodies In The Nam” (satirical, written in 2007) tell other stories drawn from his war experience. In 2007, he recorded “Skytroopers – songs of war, peace and love from Vietnam”, available at www.cdbaby.com/cd/RichardMorris.
Morris writes in Hyattsville, Maryland, where he lives with his wife, enjoys his three children, their spouses, and five grandchildren, and is working on his third novel.
See “Considering the Written Word” – Interview by Sarah Nemeth – 3-11-2011
Contact Richard Morris
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