James (Big) Meredith Morris, formerly of Benton, passed away Monday, Aug. 23, 2021, in Ooltewah, Tenn.
Jim was born Oct. 27, 1936, in Benton to parents John Marion Morris and Hazel Marie Morris. After serving in the U.S. Army, Jim relocated to Chicago and then Kankakee County, where he resided for 32 years, working at Kankakee Roper and raising a family. He spent the remainder of his life in Ringgold, Ga.
Jim was known by all who knew him as a devoted family man with an infectiously vibrant spirit. He was kind, compassionate and sincere -- traits that were hallmarks of his personality and drew people to him throughout his life. He had an enduring love for those around him and saw the best in everyone. Adventurous and active throughout his life, at the age of 62 he completed a 583-mile bike trip from Ringgold, Ga., to Bradley, Ill., with his grandson as a tribute to his late friend who shared his passion for cycling. An avid storyteller, Jim loved to make people laugh and share his fantastic life with those around him. It was a rare occasion for him to get through one of his tried-and-true jokes and personal anecdotes without bursting into laughter, so much so that most remember the joy and laughter they shared with Jim more than the jokes themselves. He was humble and gracious, but if you ever challenged him to a game of bowling, you should have been prepared to lose miserably. Jim taught us all to live fully, to love uninhibitedly, and to treat everyone with tolerance and respect.
He is preceded in death by his wife of 54 years, Hilda Ann Morris; parents John Marion Morris and Hazel Marie Morris; sister Janette Winemiller; brother Eugene Morris; nephews Johnnie "Butch" Morris and James Morris; sister-in-law Dolores Morris; and son-in-law Roy Williams.
He is survived by his brother, Johney Morris of Bradley, Ill.; three daughters, Janette Renee Williams of Bradley, Kelly Miller and husband David Miller of Georgetown, Ky., and Valerie Morris Evans and husband Matthew Evans of Chattanooga, Tenn.; six grandchildren, Ian Williams and wife Julie Williams, Amanda Williams (Matt Oehmig), Hannah Williams, Chelsea Morris (Joseph Carrick), Kyle Miller and Sara Miller; one great-grandchild, William Matthew Moses Carrick; nieces Annette Clyden and April Morales; and many great-nieces and great-nephews.