Elmer G. 'Skinny' Morris, trombonist

Friday, October 15, 2010; 6:26 PM

Elmer G. "Skinny" Morris, 88, a Navy trombonist who retired in 1966 and later became director of the Washington Redskins Marching Band, died Oct. 10 at a hospice in Callaway, a town in St. Mary's County. He had dementia.

Mr. Morris joined the Redskins Marching Band in 1966 and served as director from 1987 to 1997. He was a longtime St. Mary's County resident.

Mr. Morris spent 26 years on active duty as a Navy musician and was a veteran of World War II and the Korean War. For several years, he taught at Navy music schools and retired at the rank of petty officer first class.

After his military retirement, he spent 21 years making telescopes at J.R. Cumberland Precision Optics in Marlow Heights. He remained in the Navy Reserve until 1970.

Elmer Glenn Morris was born in Omaha and raised partly in Sioux City, Iowa. He was orphaned by age 10 and spent the remainder of his childhood at an orphanage in Davenport, Iowa, where he learned to play trombone. He also got his nickname there.

He was a member of the Masons and was a past director of Masonic bands in Alexandria and Washington. He also belonged to the Tall Cedars of Lebanon, an organization affiliated with the Masons, and served as its supreme director of music. He was a member of a Cedars band that performed on the Jerry Lewis muscular dystrophy telethon.

Survivors include his wife of 66 years, Helen Larson Morris of Callaway; three children, Romona Montillo of Charleston, S.C., Edward G. Morris of La Plata and John L. Morris of Callaway; five grandchildren; and three great-grandchildren.

- Adam Bernstein

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