J. Dell Morris, loving husband, father, grandfather and great grandfather, was called home from his earthly mission August 6, 2019.
J. Dell was born in Brigham City on January 12, 1934 to loving parents, Alvin & Secelia Morris who taught him and his six siblings to love the Lord and his church. He served as a missionary in Sweden where he met his eternal sweetheart, Ulla-Britt Froberg. They married in the Salt Lake Temple and had five wonderful children who have blessed them with 23 grandchildren and 13 great grandchildren. J. Dell’s first priority was always to serve the Lord and his family.
After serving in the military in Germany, he graduated from BYU with a Bachelors of Arts (Sculpture and Painting), with a minor in Industrial Art and Swedish in 1961. He also completed his Masters of Arts (Sculpture & Painting) at BYU with a minor in Crafts & Design in 1974. He had 60 additional hours post graduate credit but decided (in his own words) to ‘skip’ out of the Doctorate Degree so he would not be ‘stuck in an office’ somewhere!
He was an accomplished artist, sculptor and teacher. He studied with Sculptor Millard F. Mallin, who made the monument in Sugarhouse, and worked with him on the life size dinosaurs for the museum of Natural History in Vernal, Utah.
He also studied with Sculptor Avard Fairbanks and worked on the Priesthood monument on Temple Square. Doctor Fairbanks encouraged him into working as an Art teacher. J. Dell followed his advice and thoroughly enjoyed working as an Art teacher in 3 Dimensional Art, for 28 years at Granger High School.
Throughout his life he was commissioned to do artwork on many projects for individuals, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints and projects for various organizations and governments. He found joy in his sculpturing, and his art is found in many places.
KSL has several of his Book of Mormon Statues. Vernal has a Lausaurus Dinosaur inside its museum and three life size dinosaurs in Vernal’s Dinosaur Park (commissioned by the Utah State Park & Recreation Department in 1965). The ‘Family Lehi Bronze’ is in many places within the USA as well as in Mexico, and his bronzes are also found in Japan and Scandinavia. He was contracted to repair the Brigham Young Memorial Plaque for Brigham City, Utah.
The Granite Education Foundation asked him to create a statuette for exclusive use by the Foundation. ‘Helping Hand’ is an exquisite depiction of an educator’s hand cradling a child. The foundation presented this sculpture to outstanding teachers each year for over 20 years. He also designed the Critchfield Memorial Fountain at Granger High School.
J. Dell found great joy in working with his former student, Dee Jay Bawden, as an assistant sculptor on the Kristus statue used in LDS Visitor Centers and in Pioneer Memorial, Clearfield, Utah.
He thought it was a great privilege to design the oxen for the Nauvoo Temple and restore the Sunstones on the outside walls of that temple that so many of his ancestors had helped to build.
In 1971, J. Dell was one of eight artists invited by the first presidency for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints to submit an Angel Moroni model for the Washington D. C. Temple. Gerrit Timmerman, Jr., project manager for the Washington D.C., temple praised all the statues. J. Dell’s model Angel Moroni was not chosen for the temple but was purchased by the church and subsequently used on other temples.
His art has been exhibited in many galleries including the Dewey Moor Gallery in SLC, UT., Brigham City Museum Gallery in Brigham City, Utah, and the Passionate Eye Gallery in Sun Valley, Idaho.
In his travels he studied art in museums in Paris France, Milan, Venice and Rome Italy, London England, Stockholm Sweden, Washington D.C. and Mexico City.
There are numerous private owners of his work in the USA and in Europe.
He also enjoyed many hobbies including lapidary, silversmith and other media’s for 3 dimensional design such as stone carving, and wood and ceramic expression.
His greatest joy was to spend time with his family. He especially enjoyed fishing and camping in the Uintah’s.
J.Dell loved being a grandfather and adored his grandchildren. There was a sparkle in his eyes when they came to visit.
He treasured his pioneer ancestry and cherished his membership in The Sons of Utah Pioneers.
Besides serving in the Stockholm Sweden temple with his wife Ulla-Britt, he served as a Salt Lake Temple Sealer for many years. He counted it a great privilege to serve in the Stockholm temple as a missionary and as a counselor in the temple presidency.
He will be greatly missed. He is survived by his dear wife Ulla-Britt, four children Bryan (Nikki), Lloyd (Vanessa), Geoff (Donna), and Janicka (Laman). He is preceded in death by his son John, granddaughter Alicia, and grandson Dexter.
Funeral services will be held Wednesday, August 14, 2019 at 11:00am at the Grandview 2nd Ward, 2930 South 2000 East. Friends and family are invited to Tuesday evening 6:00-8:00pm at Holbrook Mortuary, 3251 South 2300 East, and at the church Wednesday morning 9:30-10:30am prior to the service. Full obituary and guestbook to post messages for the family available at: HolbrookMortuary.com
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