On the 30th anniversary of the death of Sangre de Cristo graduate Ronnie Morrison, who died after falling from the Crestone Needles on July 5, 1987, the Courier is rerunning a column by then-editor Teresa Sales, which was first published on Thursday, July 9, 1987.
Linda Morrison had the kind of son of which any mother would be proud.
“He never raised his voice to me, and he never talked back to me,” she said Monday.
But Ronnie Morrison will be remembered longer for the things he did instead of the things he refrained from doing.
Like giving his younger sister Marla the chance to attend the national convention of the Future Business Leaders of America in California. Ronnie not only gave up his trip to nation — he had gone before to Washington, D.C. and Houston, he said — but he gave Marla the money to make the trip.
Marla arrived home 45 minutes after her mother received the phone call that Ronnie had fallen from the Crestone Needles.
“She was so excited about all the things she had seen on the trip that I let her tell me about them,” Linda said. “I didn’t want to deflate her spirits.”
Ronnie Morrison was “Mr. FBLA” to a lot of people in the state of Colorado, and it wasn’t a title handed down from big sister Carol — although she had also won the distaff side of the state title. Ronnie earned his on his own.
It wasn’t easy for Ronnie to follow in Carol’s footsteps, and some people thought he couldn’t. He didn’t really try; he made his own footsteps instead, and they were more than adequate.
When he graduated in May, it was with honors. And a scholarship to Western State was waiting for him.
Knowing he would need additional money for college, Ronnie worked at two jobs this summer. He had been helping with family finances for a long time, his mother said.
He was the kind of kid you could count on to do what he said he would; he wouldn’t let you down.
I watched Ronnie Morrison for five years, at worship, at work and at social events. I saw him reflective on occasion; I never saw him frown. He smiled often and spontaneously, and he loved to laugh.
Friday evening Ronnie came in late to a practice of Sonrisa, the singing/witnessing youth group of the Adventist Church, which he had belonged to since its beginning 18 months ago. He stayed and practiced with the director so he would be prepared to sing several patriotic songs the group presented for the July 4 worship service.
The last song Sonrisa sang, to conclude the service, was the “Battle Hymn of the Republic.” Some members of the audience said it was the best the group had ever sung.
It was also the last song Ronnie Morrison sang.
Families and friends have problems dealing with the deaths of young people, especially great young people like Ronnie. It helps to know that the memories will all be good ones, that there are no regrets. It also helps to know that the person who died was a Christian – “Because I live, you too shall live,” Christ said.
And Ronnie was a Christian, not just in name but in actions and words. He read his Bible every morning because he loved its Author.
Monday afternoon I was struggling with my emotions over Ronnie’s death when the words of that last song came flooding into my mind: “Mine eyes have seen the glory of the coming of the Lord. . .”
It seemed that a voice spoke to me. “The next thing Ronnie will see, when he opens his eyes again, will be the ‘glory of the coming of the Lord’. . .”
And I thought, “Even so, come Lord Jesus.”
The sooner, the better.