From Ken Walchak, RP/WRHS president
Henry (Hank) Morris passed away Monday, November 7. Hank was in many ways the soul of the Rogers Park West Ridge Historical Society. Hank served as the editor, publisher, and chief article writer for The Historian, the primary publication of the Society. He also spent most of his retirement working on one project or another for us. Willing to do almost anything to further the goals of the RPWRHS, Hank was one of the people who carried around the institutional memory of the organization in his head. 75 and in poor health for some time, Hank was the guy I referred to as my long suffering editor. A lifelong Chicagoan and West Ridger, Hank knew more about the history of our community than anyone I knew. He was a rail buff who wrote countless articles on streetcars, and transportation in general, for The Historian. He shepherded The Historian from the very beginning– long before my tenure– and turned it into an award-winning publication.
I don’t know how long Hank has been a member, Board Member, Editor, and keeper of the Wiki of the Society. He was especially proud of his work on the Wiki, easily citing how many thousand photos and articles were on it at any given time. We will miss his hard work and generous nature. I’m pretty sure there will not be another one like him.
We extend our heartfelt condolences to his wife Carol. Though I never asked him about this, I’m quite sure that Hank would appreciate contributions in his name to the Rogers Park West Ridge Historical Society. He wasn’t a flower kind of guy. As I write this, I am looking at a mock up of a plaque that we planned to present to Hank. We had created the award just for him: The Hank Morris Historian Award, given in recognition of outstanding contributions to the RPWRHS and its publications. It makes me sad to think that we won’t be able to hand it to him personally.