Slemmons Morrison, 91, a pioneer of the Geisinger Medical Center's pediatric
service, peacefully departed this earthly life on Sunday morning, December
He is survived by
his loving wife of 66 years, Isabel Johnson Morrison; four daughters, Ann
Holmes and husband Tod, Isabel Morrison and husband Taylor Runner, Elizabeth
Richie, and Joan Dailey and husband Ralph; eight grandchildren, Chad Holmes
and wife Pamela, Jay Holmes and wife Celeste, Emma and Samuel Runner,
Isaiah Richie and wife KayCee, and Ryan, Erin and Dylan Dailey; and one
great granddaughter, Anna Isabel Holmes. He was preceded in death by
son-in-law, Larry Richie, and grandchild, Elijah Richie.
The son of Tracy
McKee and Pearl Ann Morrison, Sam was born in Wilkensburg, PA, on June 2,
1923. He grew up outside of Pittsburgh in Edgewood, PA. His father worked
for the H. J. Heinz Company. He graduated from Edgewood High School in 1941
and then went on to attend Princeton University, class of 1945. Because of
the Army's need for more physicians during WWII, he cut short his
undergraduate career to enter Harvard Medical School, graduating in 1947.
He met Isabel, his
beloved wife, a Danville native, at the Massachusetts General Hospital
(where she was a secretary) on his last day of medical school. Destiny
brought them together again in Danville, when Sam began an internship at
Geisinger Memorial Hospital. They were married November 25, 1948.
In 1949, the young
Dr. Morrison volunteered under the “Forrestal Program” for a two year tour
of duty in the Army Medical Corps. Sam was initially assigned to the 161st
Station Hospital in Sapporo, Japan. When the Korean War erupted, he was
assigned to the 24th Infantry Division as a surgeon with the 3rd
Engineer Combat Battalion. In such capacity his duty took him from Taejon,
to the Pusan perimeter, to within 15 miles of the Yalu River, the border
with China where, vastly outnumbered, the Americans retreated to escape
entrapment by the Chinese troops that had amassed on the opposite banks of
Upon his return
from Korea, following three years of training as a Pediatric Fellow at the
Mayo Clinic in Rochester, MN, Sam received an MS in Pediatrics from the
University of Minnesota. He was certified by the American Board of
Pediatrics in 1954. Sam was the first Director of the Department of
Pediatrics, Washington Clinic, Washington, D.C., from 1954 to 1956.
Sam always loved
Danville and was thrilled when he received the offer to become an associate
in the Department of Pediatrics at the Geisinger Memorial Hospital and Foss
Clinic in 1956. He served as Chief of Pediatrics from 1958 to 1974 and,
subsequently, as an Associate in the Department of Pediatrics until his
retirement in 1988. During his 32 year career at the Geisinger he served as
the President of the Pediatric Society of Northeastern Pennsylvania, the
President of the Montour County Medical Society and Chairman of the Medical
Advisory Committee of the Susquehanna Valley Chapter, National Foundation,
March of Dimes.
Sam was a lifelong
Presbyterian and a 58 year member of the Grove Presbyterian Church having
served both as an Elder and a Deacon.
The many years of
Sam's service at Geisinger left very little time for hobbies or outside
activities. He had been a talented tennis player, actor, singer and artist
in the earlier years of life. After retirement, he enjoyed golf and
gardening, and spent hundreds of hours constructing his sprawling community
of “Samburgh,” featuring nine model trains running simultaneously.
Sam's family will
always remember his loving devotion to them, his medical service to
children, his passion for music, his clever humor and wit, and his sweetly
demonstrative, theatrical nature.
friends are invited to a memorial service celebrating Samuel's life to be
held Saturday, January 17, 2015 at 12 noon at the
Grove Presbyterian Church, 330 Bloom St., Danville, PA 17821, with his
pastor, the Rev. Dr. Robert J. Andrews, officiating. Friends will be
received from 10 AM until 11:45 AM in the Great Room at the church. The
burial will be private and will be held at the convenience of the family. A
luncheon will follow in the Social Hall. The family will provide flowers.
Donations in Sam's memory may be made to the Samuel S. Morrison, M.D.
Pediatric Endowed Lectureship Fund, Geisinger Foundation, 100 N. Academy
Avenue, Danville, PA 17822-2576 or the Grove Presbyterian Church.
Arrangements are under the direction of the Visneski Funeral Home Inc. 10 W.
Mahoning St., Danville, PA. www.visneski.com