A belated tribute to people lover Morris
I’m writing once more to your column with regards to a funeral that took place on January 11, 2018, for Derek Alexander Morris (May 16, 1951 — December 22, 2017).
Without any doubt, Derek was a man of undaunted character and was a man’s man with all that would light up a room with his presence. His infectious smile would tell it all — how he personally approached life. From his love of music, love of family, and love of friends, of which he had many.
This was clearly seen at Christ Church Devonshire, where his funeral service took place. There was a full church, a true testament to who he really was. A good friend to each person that was seated in church. Each of them could recall a special moment or moments with Derek in their lives.
Derek’s wake celebrating his life was held at Pier 6 on Front Street. What a tribute. It was like going back in time; it truly felt as if Derek was there. I’m sure he was, if only in spirit.
Also shown were the working days with Bermuda Island Cruises. Everything was donated by companies and friends of Derek’s family; very kind. Even some of the people serving the food were people from Bermuda Island Cruises days of old. Music was provided by a live band with members that Derek had played with over the years gone by. Later, his many cousins all played in his memory. A great time was had by all. You were truly one of a kind. RIP, Hammer.
Derek was also a loving father to his beloved wife, Kyle, his daughter, Stephanie, his son, Alex. Each of them was his life. This love was shown either through his love of music or in song or being that special dad to each of them.
I believe his approach to life was instilled in him by his wonderful parents, Wilfred and Hilda Morris. All his brothers and sisters each played a big role in his life.
Derek’s parents were also the parents to many boys who would find themselves at Derek’s home. On some weekends after a night of fun, Hilda would make us stay overnight, making sure nothing would happen to us riding home. Most times breakfast was also provided in the morning. We were her extended family. She never complained; she loved us like her own.
Derek had an amazing life. He did it to the fullest from an early age. He would challenge himself with the many projects of life, which at all times seemed impossible, but he survived.
In doing so, he made many inroads which will last as a legacy to each of his life achievements.
His early days with music started at home with friends and then were taken to a greater height while attending high school at Mount Saint Agnes. Then forming his own band, who played at various locations around Bermuda.
His working life took many turns in all directions. Derek was truly a people’s person. When his brother, Donald, took over the running of Bermuda Island Cruises, his life changed completely. He became a big part of a team that would entertain our tourists for many years. As a host on board these boats, he would describe each location as the cruise boat motored along. Sometimes he added Bermudian humour verbally or through music and song on his guitar.
Those years for Bermuda tourism were the best ever. Many big groups and smaller groups, honeymooners and individuals would return for a second, third and more visits to enjoy Bermuda and her people.
May I add my own personal view: Bermuda needs to reintroduce those years of past into our present tourist programmes going forward. We certainly have the experienced tour operators in place now. We may need to fine-tune somewhat, getting each operator on the same page. Working as a team, having our government get behind them, helping each operator to make this happen.
It worked well back then for Donald and Derek. It could very well work for Bermuda once more. We certainly have the talent to make it successful again.
If for no other reason than for Derek and Donald; also for Brian “Emmy” Emmerson. These three young men made it happen. Let’s do it.
To Kyle, Stephanie, Alex — what a memory to hold in your hearts. Being the people that made Derek what he was. Everything in his life surrounded each of you. Just smile a lot, I am sure he is smiling with you.
H. GORDY GIBBONS