Funeral services were held Saturday in Newport Beach for R.I. Morris, a veteran of four decades of public service, including nearly a quarter of a century with Orange County government. Morris, who had been ill for several months, died June 1 at the age of 77.
In 1977, Morris retired as head of the county's General Services Agency, a position that capped a long career in government, including service with the California Highway Patrol, the Newport Beach Police Department and various county government offices.
When he retired as GSA director, Morris said he was most proud of the countywide paramedic communications system he built as director of communications and transportation for the county.
County Administrative Officer Robert E. Thomas, in a 1975 memo to the Orange County Board of Supervisors evaluating department heads, gave Morris one of the highest performance ratings, describing him as being "hard-charging, hard-nosed, top quality."
Morris is also credited for his work on the Driver Education Bill, which mandates courses in state high schools, while he was in charge of traffic safety for the CHP. The original bill introduced in the Legislature was known as the Burrill-Morris Bill.
When he was 10, Newport Beach classmates gave Morris the nickname of "Cuba" because he had been born in Cuba while his parents were there on business.
Survivors include a daughter, Irene F. Bertuzzi, and two sons, Roscoe Morris and David Morris. Burial was at Pacific View Memorial Park in Newport Beach.