Morris Vinton "Morrie" Deason, World War II veteran and longtime leader of the Santa Clarita Valley Veterans Memorial Committee, died Wednesday, June 15, 2011, after a long illness. He was 85.
"Morrie was a very outgoing guy," said Duane Harte, committee vice president. "He was always upbeat, and he just really enjoyed the community."
Deason and his wife, Geraldine, lived in the Santa Clarita Valley for decades before moving to northern California more than a year ago to be closer to family.
Deason was one of the original founding members of the memorial committee, which annually organizes the Memorial Day tribute at Eternal Valley Memorial Park. Deason began as treasurer about 20 years ago, and served as vice president for more than a decade.
He also chaired the [SCV affiliate of the] U.S. Library of Congress' Veterans History Project with fellow veterans advocate Herb Hightower.
The effort, started in 2007, was organized to record and preserve the stories of local veterans who served in the U.S. armed forces.
Santa Clarita City Councilwoman Laurene Weste remembered Deason's 1958 blue Chevrolet that he would drive annually in the Fourth of July parade in Newhall.
"He was such a dear, dear man," she said.
The SCV Fourth of July Parade Committee voted Wednesday to dedicate the 2011 parade to Deason's memory.
"Morrie was a proud World War II veteran, a wonderful community volunteer and a regular fixture in the parade with his blue 1958 Chevy," Parade Chairman Leon Worden said. "The community and the parade will miss him."
"He was one of those proud military American guys (who) just would stand up and would always want to lead and do good things," Weste said. "He was just gracious and giving and loving."
Through his involvement in the Veterans Memorial Committee, Deason raised money and support to establish the veterans wall at Eternal Valley.
"He was very patriotic and always made sure that if anyone needed help, that he would always be right there to help," said Kathryn Van Duzee, committee treasurer. "I don't ever remember him missing a meeting. He was always there to support the committee."
Outside of his support for veterans, Deason was an ambassador for the Santa Clarita Valley Chamber of Commerce, regularly making appearances at chamber events and business grand openings, Harte recalled.
Santa Clarita City councilman and committee President Bob Kellar will remember Deason for his support of local veterans.
"He was just an absolute mainstay in the organization, and certainly gave us a lot of insight and leadership for our veterans," Kellar said. "We're going to miss him."
Arrangements are being handled by Lakewood Funeral Home, Hughson, Calif.
Watch: SCV Veterans History Project: Morris V. Deason, USN, World War II Veteran, original air date December 23, 2007.
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