Santa Rosa surgeon Dr. Philip Morris died at his home Feb. 6 after a lengthy illness. He was 69.
Morris, who practiced in Santa Rosa for 21 years, is remembered for his fun-loving spirit and zest for life.
"He was a joy to be around," said his wife, Kim Morris, a retired pediatric psychiatrist. "He loved surgery and he treasured interacting with his patients."
Morris was born in Yakima, Wash., in 1943. His father, P. Beryl Morris, was a Boy Scout executive who instilled in his son a love of the outdoors. The young Morris rose to the rank of Eagle Scout and continued to engage in a variety of outdoor pursuits throughout his life.
After Morris completed his undergraduate work at the University of Washington and UC Santa Barbara, he attended UC San Francisco's School of Medicine. While in medical school, he met and married Kim Brubaker. They had been married 47 years at the time of his death.
A few years after their graduations in 1969, the couple moved to Santa Rosa to open their respective practices. Morris became active in the local medical community, becoming one of the first local surgeons to use laser technology. In a 1988 Chicago Tribune article, Morris advocated the use of lasers, highlighting the reductions in patient pain and surgery costs.
"He was just one of those great doctors who was excellent at the technical aspects and was also good with people — patients and the staff," said Dr. Ken Alban, who recently retired as administrator of the Santa Rosa Surgery Center, where Morris' office was located. "He always had something fun to say."
Morris also assisted REACH founder Dr. John L. McDonald with his research in preparation for beginning the successful medical airlift service company in 1987.
"There was some resistance back then about understanding the value of EMTs and paramedics," his wife said. "They did a lot of research together and were advocates for the EMTs."
Outside of work, Morris engaged in a plethora of activities, including helicopter skiing, mountain biking, tennis, scuba diving, fly fishing, camping, boating and visiting the Baja with his travel club, Vagabundos Del Mar.