Gary Morris, a mentor to many and a friend to all, passed away on October 26, 2019, at the age of 80 from a brain tumor at his beloved home “China Creek Ranch” in Oakhurst. He was surrounded by his loving wife, Penny Flinn; daughters Paula Morris and Tracy (Morris) and Craig Taylor; stepchildren John Flinn and Stacee Flinn; sisters and their spouses Sandy (Morris) and Ken Staton, Marlene (Morris) and Manouher Naraghi, Janet (Morris) and Mike Fleming; his deceased brother Bill Morris and wife Gretchen and all their children; and our grandchildren April, Autumn, Mitchell, Hunter, Tia, Johnny and Jordan; great-grandchildren Brooklynn, Lauren, Kaetlyn and Hayden.
With little more than a high school education, he started working at age 14 doing a man’s work for a man’s pay. By the age of 24 he started his own company and was in charge of long-range planning, engineering and development for some of the largest real estate projects in Los Angeles.
By the age of 39 he put aside the pursuit of money and began a new life of adventure and discovery. August 27, 1983, Gary Morris completed a nonstop run from Badwater at 283 feet below sea level in Death Valley to the top of Mt. Whitney at 14,495 ft, covering a distance of 146 miles. The experience changed his life and began a continuing search for the truth. His book entitled “Death Valley Discovery” has recently been published, which fulfilled one of his main dreams.
In 1983, he met Penny Flinn, who later became his business partner in 1985 while working with Pacific Crest Consultants, and who later became his wife in 1986. They were devoted partners in adventure travel, enterprise and life.
In 1992, Gary and Penny founded The Gaia Foundation, a 501 (c) 3, which is an environmental organization crafted to provide environmental awareness and whose purpose is to monitor, report, and act on issues vital to the health of the planet: “The Earth does not belong to Us — We belong to the Earth.” Gaia has worked with the UCLA Institute of the Environment and the Sierra Foothill Conservancy, and has co-created the Central Sierra Partnership, which consist of over 700 million acres, along with many other projects, in the hope that we are able to pass on a better planet for our children and their children.
Gary made a difference in so many lives, He was a spiritual man and he will be deeply missed by his family, friends and all who knew him.
Donations and Condolences may be offered to The Gaia Foundation at 37736 Black Ranch Road, Oakhurst, CA 93644, or supportgaia.org.