Thomas Murray Morton, born Feb. 19, 1927, in Detroit, passed away on March 3, 2017, in the Melech Hospice House in Tampa, Fla.
Mr. Morton had been in the hospital since Dec. 20 and had just been transferred to rehab for physical therapy a little over a week prior. Sadly, he fell and broke his hip on Feb. 27 and his condition rapidly declined. His family was with him in the Hospice House for his last days of life, where his pain was under control and he was at peace.
He served in the Royal Air Force in World War II, the Army Air Corps and then the United States Air Force in the Korean and Vietnam wars. He retired after 28 years of service in the USAF and then worked for the next 10 years and retired as a mail carrier for the U.S. Postal Service in Tampa, where he and his family have resided since 1974.
Thomas loved to travel and explored so many parts of the world. He was known and loved for his storytelling about his travel adventures, recalling minute details of names and places to his final days. He had attended college in Paris, France, as part of the GI Bill and frequented a café when he was there as a 19-year-old. At the time, they had a handwritten menu, which they gave him a copy of on his last visit there as a student in the 1940s.
Since then, he has returned to the same café on several occasions, taking family and friends to see it. The current café owner was ecstatic when Dad presented the original menu to him and has since added the original painted characters from that menu to the wall of the café.
He settled in Daytona Beach, Fla., where his mom and other family lived. For a period of time, he worked on the Guggenheim Yacht as a ships mate. He was recalled to the Air Force in 1951, and while on a leave in Daytona, he met his wife, Voncille Chancellor Morton, who was visiting the beach with some girlfriends on a leave from their jobs at the Masonite Corporation in Laurel.
They were married six months later in Laurel and were happily married for 53 years. Thomas was an only child, but thoroughly enjoyed being a part of his wife’s larger family in Laurel. They had one child, a daughter, Megi Marsters-Garrison, who was born at MacDill AFB in Tampa. Their years as an Air Force family were enjoyable and they met many friends who have stayed close over the years, especially the Edwin Wahl family in Tucson, Ariz., the Wests in Kentucky, Reddicks in Arkansas, the Stepps in Virginia, Sculleys in Georgia and the Leisys in Denver. After officially retiring, Thomas and Voncille enjoyed traveling around the country visiting family and the many Air Force friends they had known over the years.
On one trip, Thomas took his family to Glasgow, Scotland, to see where he had grown up as a young boy, after moving with his mother from Detroit, traveling on the Queen Mary ship. And he took his daughter Megi to Paris and showed her the most beautiful city in the world. These were trips his family will always cherish.
Thomas was widowed in 2004, after he and his family took care of Voncille throughout an extended health issue. He is survived by his daughter and only child Megi Marsters-Garrison and son-in-law James “Mitch” Garrison, who he loved like a son. He also is survived by his granddaughter Molly Lyn Marsters, who Papaw was so proud of because she completed her college education at such a young age and is so generous with her time to those in need. Molly was blessed to have her grandparents live close by and they played an active role in raising her; his grandson Jamie Garrison II, who Papaw was so proud of, especially when he participated in Civil Air Patrol as a teen and now as a general contractor building homes and Jamie’s wife Adrea Garrison, who was sweet to him when she visited; his very special friend and companion Arlene Nelson of Lutz, Fla., who traveled the world with him over his last 12 years, and always kept his appetite satisfied with her wonderful cooking; two sisters-in-law, Rebecca Cottingham and Sally Chancellor of Laurel.
Just one week prior to his passing, Dad’s brother-in-law Rothelle Chancellor passed away in Laurel. Dad and Rothelle were both 90 years old, veterans of World War II, enjoyed talking about football and watching NASCAR … as they had done so many times along with their wives in Daytona Beach back in the 1950s and ’60s. Most of all, he enjoyed their weekly telephone calls with each other over the last couple of years. And his loving nieces/nephews and their families, including Lisa (Chancellor) and Thomas Bailey and family, Lance and Danette Chancellor and family, Greg and Phyllis Chancellor and family, Mike and Teresa Chancellor and family, Ronnie and Beverly Cottingham and family and Rosi (Cottingham) and Johnny Worell; deceased niece Mary Catherine Snyder (Baker) and nephew David Snyder of Ohio.
A visitation will be today (Saturday) from 3-6 p.m. at Blount & Curry Funeral Home, 3207 W. Bearss Ave., Tampa. Burial will follow at a later date at Arlington National Cemetery in Washington, D.C.
In lieu of flowers, the family requests donations in his memory be made to the WWII Memorial (www.wwiimemorial.com), the Air Force Memorial (www.airforcememorial.org) or Lifepath’s Melech Hospice House (www.chaptershealth.org).
Please be in prayer for our family as we mourn and thank you for the many expressions of sympathy already received.
To sign the guestbook, please go to www.blountcurrycarrollwood.com.
We love you all,
Megi and Mitch Garrison, Molly Marsters, Jamie and Adrea Garrison and Arlene Nelson.