Whitman County Gazette - Serving Whitman County since 1877

Roma Gail Morrison

August 11, 1916 - September 15, 2021


September 23, 2021

Roma Gail Morrison, long time St. John area resident, passed away September 16, 2021, at the Spokane Hospice House. She was 105. A graveside service will be held Saturday, September 25, at 11 a.m. in the St. John Cemetery.

Roma was born on a farm in rural Moorefield, Nebraska on August 11, 1916, to Ernest and Hazel Ealy McLaughlin. She was the fourth child of eight born to her parents and grew up on the farm. The family moved to Sundance, Wyoming, when she was a child and that is where Roma graduated from high school. Roma told stories of times that the cowboys would ride their horses into town and because of her petite stature they would let her ride jockey in the horse races and split any winnings with her 50/50. She married at the age of 18 to Owen P. Morrison on September 27, 1934. Together Roma and Owen started their family and she enjoyed being a homemaker and mother. She also found time to work in local restaurants as a waitress in addition to raising her six kids. They moved to Eagan, South Dakota in 1945. She always had a large garden and was a wonderful cook. She taught all of her kids, even the boys, to cook.

The Morrison's moved to St. John, Washington, in 1955 where Owen worked as a herdsman for Max Harper on his cattle ranch. Roma worked as a waitress before taking a job as a telephone operator for the St. John Telephone Company. A job she held for many years. Following the death of Max Harper, his herd was purchased and moved to the White place at Lamont with one condition; that Owen came with the herd. They lived at Lamont for several years and over time Owen and Roma built a herd of their own. She was a member of the Lamont ladies club there. They moved into town in 1984 and eventually settled into a quiet retirement. Owen passed away in 1997. Roma made several trips back to Wyoming every summer to spend at least a month with family still living there. For the last ten years she has lived with her daughter and son-in-law in the Spokane Valley. She was an avid walker and it wasn't uncommon for her to walk up to two miles a day well into her older years.

Roma is survived by 3 children; Dale (Shirley) Morrison of Burbank, Wash., Reta (Bert) Hornbeck, Spokane Valley, and Monna (Dan) Mills, Clarkston; by her sister, Zona McElroy of Arbuckle, Calif .; and by 14 grandchildren, 30 great-grandchildren, and 14 great-great-grandchildren all of whom she was so very proud. In addition to her husband, she was preceded in death by three sons, Henry, Leland and Donald; by a grandson, Kevin Mills; a great-grandson, Michael Dollentas; and by three brothers and three sisters. The family suggests memorial gifts in her memory be to the Spokane Hospice House or the St. John Fire Department. On-line guest book is at http://www.bruningfuneralhome.com

Bruning Funeral Home of Colfax is in charge of the arrangements.


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