Last Wednesday, Navajo Nation President Ben Shelly ordered flags to be flown at half-staff in honor of Morris.
At age 12, he was sent to a government boarding school 70 miles away, where he learned English. Morris returned to the reservation after the school was closed during the war and turned into an internment camp for Japanese Americans.
He was barely 17 in 1943 when he went to the local draft board and said he was 18 in order to obtain a draft registration card, which was required to be hired for a job.
He had been working in an Arizona ore mine for a few months when he was drafted. He credited a Navajo medicine man with keeping him safe during the war.
"He prayed a day and a half for me," Morris recalled in a 1998 interview with the Modesto Bee. "He said, 'Grandson, you will be safe, and you will come back so you can tell me all that happened.' "
After his discharge in 1946, Morris found a civilian job at the Marine supply center in Barstow, Calif., and he and his wife, Charlotte, settled in nearby Daggett. He was maintenance department supervisor at the supply center when he retired in 1984.
In addition to his daughter, Morris is survived by his wife of 61 years; two sons, Elliott and Joe Jr.; three brothers, Bobby, Johnnie and Sam; and three grandchildren.
A funeral service will be held at 11:30 a.m. Monday at East Hills Community Church, 20660 Orange Terrace Parkway, Riverside.