Treasures for TIHAN Hero Dr.
It is with great sadness that we
report the passing of Dr. Myron Morris, one of the foremost
champions of TIHAN and our mission for the last 12 years.
More than any other person, Myron has
been the face of TIHAN: devoting more volunteers hours,
raising more funds, and serving more CarePartners than any
other person in TIHAN's 14-year history. In addition to his
service on a TIHAN CareTeam and on our Board of Directors,
Myron helped raise more than $1.4 million for TIHAN over the
past decade, primarily through "Treasures for
TIHAN," the benefit auction for which Myron was renowned.
And he has become a dear friend to so many people involved
with TIHAN. His fascinating life brought him into contact with
a diversity of people and experiences, as evidenced by his
Two months ago, in the middle of doing volunteer work in
support of TIHAN (collecting items for our auction!), Myron
experienced great pain which necessitated him going to urgent
care. Over the next two months, his health failed as his body
struggled to recuperate from three abdominal surgeries.
Despite his strong spirit and determination, Myron passed away
on June 23 at the age of 83. His legacy lives on through TIHAN
and those he touched.
An anonymous donor has made a $1,000 donation to TIHAN in
Myron's memory, establishing The Myron Morris Memorial Fund.
An additional $1,000 contribution has already been received.
Gifts to carry on Myron's legacy may be sent to TIHAN, 2660
North 1st Avenue, Tucson, Arizona 85719-2911.
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About Myron Morris
Myron Morris, MD, community activist, advocate, and
philanthropist, died Monday, June 23, 2008, in Tucson where he
lived since 1993. He was 83.
The cause of death was complications following several
abdominal surgeries, according to his brother, Norman Morris.
Myron retired from his medical practice in Boston and moved
to Tucson. He was a board-certified physician in pediatrics
and pediatric allergy and practiced for some thirty years.
He was a graduate of Vanderbilt Medical School, held a PhD
degree in medical microbiology from the University of
Wisconsin and did his undergraduate studies at the University
of Pennsylvania, where he majored in chemistry.
During his medical training, he was a resident in
pediatrics at Case Western Reserve University Hospital in
Cleveland and later became chief resident in pediatrics at the
Cornell Medical Center in New York City.
Myron was embraced by all who knew him. His deeply held
beliefs in reaching out led to countless friends in every
community through which he passed. His humor and warmth were
his stock and trade. His passing will be mourned by his
relatives and by all of his many friends and associates.
He will be especially missed by his brother, Norman, who
has regarded Myron as his guiding spirit and role model since
they were young boys growing up in Philadelphia. Norman
recalls their many shared childhood and youthful experiences,
their travels together and their many happy times.
Myron was a multi-faceted individual. He was a gifted
pianist, artisan and discriminating judge of music and of the
arts. In his travels throughout the world he gathered
artifacts that were representative of the works of
extraordinary crafts people whose work he admired. He was a
generous man who lavished his friends and relations with gifts
He began his musical studies at the Settlement Music School
under renowned pianists and musical theorists. His brother
also recalls that in his teenage years, Myron performed in a
Settlement Music School concert attended by Albert Einstein,
one of his foremost scientific heroes. In more recent times he
studied piano with the gifted pianist and music critic of the
New York Times, Anthony Tommasini.
He was also a man of conscience, and action. In response to
the killing in 1964 of three young civil rights workers who
dedicated their lives to ending racial discrimination in the
South, Myron joined the thousands of volunteers who traveled
to Mississippi, the sight of the murders, to register black
voters. They did so despite continued threats of bodily harm
from officials and members of organizations such as the Ku
Klux Klan and the White Citizens Council.
In Boston, Myron pursued his medical career with rigor and
compassion. Yet, he found greater satisfaction in building
community. He volunteered on a medical van that ministered to
the needs of wayward street kids, joined in revitalizing a
run-down Jamaica Plain neighborhood, and involved himself in
protesting war and promoting the voice of the oppressed. He
gathered a remarkable multi-generational network of friends,
many who regarded Myron as honorary uncle. Host to countless
parties, gourmet dinners, musical offerings and political
meetings, he greeted all with a broad smile, twinkling eye and
inimitable "Myron" hug.
In Tucson, Myron devoted his full time and energy to an
array of organizations, with his primary focus being the
Tucson Interfaith HIV/AIDS Network (TIHAN), where Myron served
as a caregiving volunteer for numerous people living with
HIV/AIDS throughout his twelve years of service. In addition
to his caregiving, Myron was recognized as a tireless advocate
for people living with the disease and as the organization's
foremost ambassador. In addition to serving on TIHAN's Board
of Directors, he was a passionate fundraiser, helping raise
over $1.4 million for the organization's programs and services
over the past decade, primarily through the "Treasures
for TIHAN" auction of which Myron was a founder. Although
he received much public acclamation including TIHAN's
"Excellence in Caring" Award and the Association of
Fundraising Professionals' "Spirit of Philanthropy"
Award, and his volunteer efforts being highlighted in The
Jewish Post and the Arizona Daily Star, it was the personal
satisfaction and sense of doing what is "right" that
drove his efforts.
Myron Morris was a passionate philanthropist and supporter
of social justice, civil rights, medical education,
progressive politics, inter-faith dialogue/cooperation, and
local theater, music, and arts. Since coming out as a gay man
15 years ago, Myron has continued to thrive, living life fully
and openly. His life was lived surrounded by an amazing
network of friends throughout the world.
Myron Morris, Ph.D, M.D., was the son of the late Benjamin
and Reba Morris of Philadelphia. He is survived by his
brother, Norman, his sister-in-law, Sandra, and their three
sons, Kenneth Morris, Gregory Morris, and Benjamin Morris,
along with their respective families, as well as by his first
cousins, Dr. and Mrs. Michael Jay Bresler of Emerald Hills,
California, and their sons, Benjamin and Aaron.
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TIHAN and those we serve are honored to have been such an
important part of Myron's life. He cared about our mission
with all his heart and soul. Myron Morris lived his faith,
doing the mitzvot his religion teaches: bikkur holim (visiting
the sick), shituf b'tsaar (alleviating another's pain), pikuah
nefesh (saving life), and tikkun olam (making the world a
These quotes were found among Myron's papers, and symbolize
his aspirations for his life.
"I hope my achievements in life shall be these:
that I will have fought for what was right and fair,
that I will have risked for that which mattered,
that I will have given help to those who were in need, and
that I will have left the earth a better place for what I've
done and who I've been."
"When a man appears before the Throne of Judgment, the
first question he will be asked is not 'Have you believed in
G-d?' or 'Have you prayed and observed the ritual?"—but
'Have you dealt honorably with your fellow man?' "
Myron, you have succeeded in living a good life that made a
difference in the world.
Scott Blades, Executive Director
Tucson Interfaith HIV/AIDS
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