On November 6, 2020, Buddy Delbert Morrison died peacefully in his sleep at the age of 90 years. Predeceased by his sister Alverna (Johnson) and brothers Norman and Donald.
Bud Morrison was born in a small log house on the prairie near the town of Shellmouth, Manitoba. Bud survived whooping cough at age 6, scarlet fever at age 12, and a fire in the house that burned the main floor (fortunately, the cat woke up his sister). Bud’s grandpa was a livestock dealer who got horses from Calgary. His grandparents lived in a nice house in town and held dances on Saturday nights - until they lost everything during the great depression.
Bud played hockey as a kid but only had his dad's big goalie skates, so he could shoot well but not skate. His uncle Vic was the best hockey player around. Bud always loved hockey and coached several teams in Edmonton. He would debate the merits of the Oilers right up to the age of 90.
Bud was 15 when WWII ended. At 16, he left school to work the family farm. At 17, he froze his feet so bad that the doctor wanted to amputate. He later moved to Winnipeg and worked at several jobs. One job was at the Bonnie Bakery in St Boniface delivering bread for 10 cents a loaf (they lost customers when the price went up to 12 cents). He got fired from one job because he took time off to go to a dance. He spent the summers of 1956-1958 working on the railway pounding spikes. He met his first wife Kathy, the new teacher in town, through curling. When he asked for time off to get married, his boss said "what day do you want?" as he only got one day off per year.
Bud and Kathy got married in 1958. His cousin had moved to Edmonton to join the police force and got two weeks vacation to start. When Bud heard this, he and Kathy moved to Edmonton in April 1959 where Bud joined the City Police force. He walked the beat for three years by himself - no radio, no spray, just a gun. He wore a buffalo coat and a fur hat.
Bud was 29 when he joined the police force and people said he wouldn't be able to do it, but he was first in the mile run and could do the most push ups. Five years later, he was still the best overall athlete. Bud spent 30 years with the Edmonton City Police, 12 years working with juveniles; he never had to shoot anyone. During this time, Bud obtained his pilot’s licence. He retired from the force at age 59 (60 was mandatory). He then spent six months working under cover for the RCMP and later worked security at the horse racetrack. Bud liked to farm and owned land near Edmonton and a homestead in Manitoba that he maintained with his nephew Peter Johnson.
Bud leaves behind two sons, Brian and Ken, and four grandchildren – Duncan, Gavan, Quinn and Rachael. Bud remarried in 2001 to Arlene Nixon who was with him until the end. They loved travelling together, especially to Hawaii.
Bud had a passion for sports and enjoyed playing hockey, baseball, football, curling and broomball. While we did once find a metal plate inside his broomball broom, I’m sure it was all legal. He enjoyed coaching fastball and hockey at multiple levels. He was very pleased that there were four generations of hockey goaltenders in his family - his father, himself, his son Ken and his grandson Gavan. Goaltending equipment has changed significantly over time, and I am not sure if he and his dad were very brave or if they just drew the last straw on who was going to play net.
Bud had season tickets for the Oilers and Eskimos and enjoyed going to the games with his family and with local and visiting relatives. Some of his nephews, like Warren (and Larry), mentioned that they had fond memories of Uncle Bud taking them to games. Quinn and Rachael reminisce about visiting their Grandpa and swimming, sometimes close to drowning, in the pool. Bud was especially proud that his grandson, Gavan, inherited his passion for sports and of being part of a team.
Bud also loved to travel. When his family was young, he would pack them up in the car to visit relatives in Saskatchewan and Manitoba and then do side trips through the northern United States. In the early 70’s, he took the family by plane to Florida to go to Disneyworld and was fortunate enough to be traveling with most of the Montreal Canadiens hockey team. He recalled how personable and friendly they were. In 1979, he took his family to Hawaii and loved it so much that he continued going there for the next 40 years. He particularly loved spending time there with his wife Arlene. He also traveled to Europe, and with his son Brian, visited Australia, Fiji, and Mexico.
Bud had his pilot’s licence and was extremely proud when his grandson Duncan received his. They would talk plane talk while others around them had no idea what they were talking about. Bud flew with the Edmonton Police Flying Club. He loved to tell the story of him almost getting shot down by the US air force when he flew over restricted airspace. He recalled that he heard two jets zoom up on either side of his plane, with the pilots pointing for him to land. Fortunately, they made radio contact with him and escorted him out of the restricted area. He was convinced that if his plane didn’t have Edmonton Police displayed on it, they would have shot him down.
Bud wanted people to get a good start in life and growing up, we often had relatives either staying with us or visiting, including Uncle Andy and Aunt Zonia. One time, when Tom and Dale Weighell were visiting, we decided to throw mud on our neighbours' newly painted fence. Well, Bud spanked us all; Dale was foolish enough to say that it didn't hurt, so he got spanked again.
Bud made a point of going to Manitoba every year. He enjoyed farming, fishing, tapping maple trees, spending time with family and friends, and helping his brother Norm with some of the crazy jobs that he took on. Once Norm was commissioned by the county to blow up beaver dams. While Norm set the explosive, Bud and Brian watched from the top of a hill. Brian asked his Dad if they were far enough away and Bud said “no problem” as he stood beside the truck. When they heard Norm yell, “Fire in the Hole”, Brian hid behind the truck while Bud continued to watch. The next thing you know, a rock came whizzing by like a bullet, just missing Bud’s head, and took out the side mirror of his truck. Bud then turned to his son and said, “I guess you were right!”
Bud took pride and enjoyment in his involvement with the restoration of Shellmouth United Church and continued to support them throughout the years. The year 2005 was the 100th anniversary of the church, and he found it very gratifying that he was able to get it into shape to hold a service. He was pleased that his grandchildren visited him at the farm and was happy to share the family history and entertain them. Bud always considered Manitoba his home and had a particularly close relationship with his nephew Peter Johnson whom he loved dearly. He cherished spending time in the valley with family.
Bud's enthusiasm for farming continued after moving to Edmonton. I guess you can take the man off the farm, but you can’t take the farm out of the man! He bought several parcels of land and enlisted his family to help him (whether they wanted to or not). When his sons got older, they would get their friends to help haul bales and pay them in beer. Brian and Ken soon found out not to pay their friends until after the work was done, as they had to finish the job while their friends slept in the hay.
Volunteerism was also important to Bud as he helped out with various organizations. His sense of community involvement was passed down to his sons Brian and Ken.
Bud said many times that he wouldn’t know what to do if Arlene wasn’t part of his life. He often mentioned how lucky he was, and his family agrees. She was with him through the good times and bad and loved him dearly to the end.
In conclusion, some words from Frank Sinatra's song “My Way'' seem to best sum up Bud’s life:
I've lived a life that's full
Regrets, I've had a few
But then again, too few to mention
Yes, there were times, I'm sure you knew
When I bit off more than I could chew
But through it all, when there was doubt
I ate it up and spit it out
I faced it all and I stood tall
And did it my way
To send flowers to Buddy's family, please visit our floral store.
Canadian Cancer Society - Manitoba Division
193 Sherbrook Street, Winnipeg MB R3C 9Z9