Douglas Lee Morse Profile Photo
1948 Douglas 2023

Douglas Lee Morse

March 18, 1948 — June 29, 2023

Viborg, SD


Douglas L. Morse, 75, passed away peacefully on June 29, 2023, at the Pioneer Memorial Nursing Home in Viborg, South Dakota where he had been living since November 2021.

Douglas (Doug) was born March 18, 1948, in Vermillion, South Dakota to Warren and Fern (Marcotte) Morse.  He was number 3 of 6 children.  In 1951, the family moved to the Panama Canal Zone where Doug attended Canal Zone schools and graduated from Balboa High School in 1966.  He then joined the apprenticeship program and became a Plumber/Pipe Fitter for the US Navy.  Doug remained in the Panama Canal Zone working at Rodman Naval Station from 1968 to 1974. He relocated to Mira Mar Naval Air Station in San Diego, California from 1974 to 1988.  He and his wife then spent 1988 to 1991 in Guantanamo Bay Cuba Naval Base where he served as Mechanical Systems Planner/Estimator.  From 1991 until his retirement in 2001 they lived in Grand Bay, Alabama and Doug worked as a Quality Assurance Evaluator in Pascagoula Navy Base in Mississippi.  Doug had a stroke in 2012 and moved up to Vermillion, South Dakota to be near family.

In 1988, Doug married JoAnn (Reed) Towner.  They enjoyed watching motorcycle racing and wrestling and often went to live events in California.  Doug’s vacations usually brought him back to Vermillion where his mother lived. He made the roundtrip several times from California to South Dakota on his Yamaha XS750XE motorcycle, and later with JoAnn in their Ford camper van.   They loved to camp and occasionally drove up to the Sierras.

Doug had many hobbies over his lifetime.  Some of his best memories were the 4-wheeler club in Panama.  The motto was “if there is a path, we take it”.  Many outings found him hooking the winch to a tree or a fellow member’s vehicle just to be pulled out of a fast-moving river, a ravine or just plain mud.  He took up sky diving and made 26 jumps but had to give it up when he broke his leg.  He particularly enjoyed flying in his Dad’s Cessna and Navion, traveling from Panama to South Dakota a few times acting as co-pilot/navigator.  Doug was a photographer and took many pictures at the motorcycle races he attended and nature sites on his trips half-way across the country.  He won an award for one particular photo of the Old Faithful Geyser at Yellowstone Park.

Doug had a way with pets, dogs, and cats alike.  They seemed to know he was a softy when it came to animals. There were times when you could see him rolling in the grass with 2 or 3 of the neighbors’ dogs playing and wrestling.  He had many pets throughout his years.  His favorites were Rosy the Irish Setter, Princess the part-Burman cat, and Zeke the mutt.

He is preceded in death by his parents, wife JoAnn in 2008, and brother Robert in 1999. 

Survivors include Brothers, Richard (Suzanna Kotalik) of El Paso TX; Charles of Slidell LA; Sisters, Janelle (Pat) Kribell of Irene SD, and Adrienne (David) Whitehead of Vermillion SD; two stepsons and several step-grandchildren; many nieces/nephews and grandnieces/nephews

Burial arrangement will be handled by Hansen Funeral Home in Irene, South Dakota.  There will only be a family memorial service held at a later date.

To send flowers to the family in memory of Douglas Lee Morse, please visit our flower store.


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