Life Story / Obituary
Robert Lee Morrow was a genuine, fun-loving, and adventurous man. He lived his life devoted to his wife, Adele and was a proud father and grandfather. A true lover of the ocean and a military man at heart, he respected the troops and gave generously to multiple organizations to support them over the years. Lee leaves behind a wonderful legacy of being a family man who sincerely loved each and every one of them. His warm collection of memories as well as his ability to host the best of Thanksgivings will be lovingly remembered by all who knew and loved him.
With banks still closing as a result of the Great Depression, mobster Al Capone locked away in Alcatraz, the completion of the Empire State Building and during one of the greatest droughts in American history, Jesse and Louise Morrow welcomed their son, Robert Lee born on November 3, 1931 in Atlanta, Georgia. His birth brought much hope and happiness to his parents during those challenging times.
Growing up in Grand Rapids, Michigan where his father worked in furniture sales with Steelcase and his mother was a homemaker, Lee’s lived a fun and adventurous childhood. He never lacked for a group of pals to hang with and stir up trouble. Enjoying nature and exploring the northern Michigan woods in the Grayling area, he found many opportunities to bond with the outdoors. He was also fortunate to have a close relationship with his uncle McClanahan who owned a coastline estate in Sea Island, Georgia where Lee spent many summers. It was here that he learned the patience for crabbing, the freedom offered by running the expansive shoreline, and the rich smell of the Atlantic. As a young child, he overcame a brief bout of polio, which formed his lifelong belief that anyone could do anything they set their mind on doing. He modeled this strong theory his whole life by using his fierce determination and focused mindset to navigate a successful and fulfilled life. As a teenager, Lee was known as his high school’s basketball star! His team won many championships during his years with South High earning them the name, “The Firehouse Five!” By then, he had grown to a stealth 6’2 after years of begging his family doctor to make him taller. The doctor was eager to help offering Lee a weekly special elixir to which he later learned was made of liquid vitamins and minerals. His mother was more than a homemaker. She was a talented woman who loved to cook, sew, crochet, and knit. She often stayed up well into the night knitting Lee argyle socks waiting for him to return home after a night out with the guys. Lee often joked about the his overflowing sock drawer! She was so talented in fact that it was her gorgeous yellow turtleneck sweater that she made for Lee that attracted Adele, the love of his life to him so many years ago. He was popular and noted as charming by his classmates who grew fond of his antics and jokes. He also relished in any opportunity for adventure which one night led he and a group of friends to drive to New Orleans without a moment’s notice and return with fresh tattoos! When he wasn’t off seeking the next new experience, he was hard at work earning wages to support his future. There didn’t seem to be any type of work he would turn down as a young man and he thrived on being active. Ambitious and eager to serve his country, he enlisted with the United States Army serving in the Korean War. He never much liked to talk about his experience but rather felt it was his civic duty. Later, he went on to graduate with a Bachelors of Science degree in business from Western Michigan University. Joining in marriage with a church ceremony in Grand Rapids, Lee absolutely adored Adele and loved her immensely. He tirelessly doted on her during their remarkable forty-five years together. They were blessed with two wonderful daughters Carolyn and Jelane and later adopted their son Bob, a blessing to the family. Lee and Adele raised their family on Pollyanna Drive in Livonia, Michigan.
A great provider, Lee spent thirty-five years as a district sales manager with Uarco where he was well loved by his staff. Lee dedicated many decades of service to the City of Livonia, including Past President of the Planning Commission, Livonia Spree and Hearts of Livonia. When he managed enough time off, he treasured taking his family on vacations over the years. With the rich memories of his childhood as a reference, he often favored the northern Michigan destinations of Grayling, East Tawas, and Mackinac Island. As a family, they often spent time canoeing on the Au Sable River where Jelane was notorious for tipping the canoe. In addition to their favorite places in Michigan, Lee loved sharing the seashores of his childhood at both Sea and St. Simons Islands. They made many memories crabbing the beaches of Rehoboth in Delaware and later spent time at the beautiful condo in Hilton Head that he and Adele owned for many years. When the college football and basketball seasons were over, he loved to spend time outdoors golfing, playing tennis, fishing, or sunbathing. Each year he looked forward to an annual salmon fishing trip with his long time friends. He never turned down a fun time or an invitation to get together with friends and family. His favorite saying was, "you can’t beat fun".
Lee also had many special interests. He loved any movie starring or directed by Clint Eastwood and was a fan of John Wayne westerns. With a soft spot for any old war movie, it was no surprise that his favorite movie was Top Gun, a 1986 romantic military film starring Tom Cruise. Any opportunity he had to visit Washington D.C. or talk politics made him happy. Described as wise, strong, and kind with an infectious laugh and great smile, Lee will be deeply missed. Loved by his many friends who enjoyed countless funny stories shared by Lee over years, his greatest gift will be his positive outlook on life. He richly blessed so many people over the years and his memories will live on in their hearts.
Lee Morrow, 85, passed away peacefully, January 1, 2017. He was preceded in death by his wife, Adele. Loving father of Carolyn Sharpe (Rick), Jelane Ciranna (Bob) and Bob Morrow. Beloved grandfather of Lauren (Matt), Ryan (Mallory), Brandon and Steve. Lee has dedicated many decades of service to the City of Livonia, including Past President of the Planning Commission, Livonia Spree and Hearts of Livonia. Family will receive friends Friday 2-9 pm at Neely-Turowski Funeral Home 30200 Five Mile (Between Middlebelt and Merriman), where a funeral service will be held on Saturday at 11 am. In lieu of flowers, family suggests donations to be made to Homes for Our Troops at https://www.hfotusa.org/mission/ or to Operation Homefront at http://www.operationhomefront.net