Richard James Morris

Richard James Morris, 81, died peacefully Jan. 15, 2020, at Good Samaritan St. Martin’s Village in Rapid City, S.D.

Morris was born Jan. 1, 1939, in Rapid City to Ralph and Margaret (Boodleman) Morris. He graduated from Hill City (S.D.) High School in 1956. Morris’s family owned and operated Wheel Inn Resort and Sheridan Lake Marina where he worked many summers. Morris then went on to attend college, play in a band and learn his trade as an ironworker.

Morris married his wife, Peggy O’Neil, Jan. 25, 1964. They had three children, Brent, Tracy and Holli. They shared their home near Hill City for over 40 years, until Peggy’s death in 2005.

Morris worked in the iron worker trade for over 30 years, which included constructing minuteman missile sites that he was proud to be a part of. When driving around the Black Hills of South Dakota, he was happy to point out the many landmarks he was involved in constructing including the Cement Plant, Rapid City Civic Center, the Chapel at St. Martin’s, rest area teepees and the Rushmore Mall.   

Morris was a great teacher who would spend time with anyone interested in learning welding, fabrication or anything else they dared to try on land or water. While at the helm of a boat, he taught barefoot skiing, hang gliding, jumping and tricks just like you would see at Cypress Gardens.

Over the years he enjoyed riding many miles horseback, driving teams of horses in parades, giving hay and sleigh rides, as well as skidding logs and participating in horse pulls. After his ironworker days were over he ran Morris Machine and Repair and also dabbled in dirt-work until he fully retired in 2004.

Morris was an avid outdoorsman who liked hunting and fishing.  He enjoyed attending all his kids’ and grandkids’ events and was always available for advice and coaching after each game.

Morris is survived by two sons, Brent (Twila) Morris of Hill City, and Tracy (Robyn) Morris of Sergeant Bluff, Iowa; daughter, Holli (Jeff) Edwards of Hill City; four grandchildren, Sydney and Jace Morris and Taylor and Whitney Edwards; sister, Barbara Burnham, of Hill City; and many nieces, nephews and friends. 

Morris was preceded in death by his wife, Peggy; and his parents, Ralph and Margaret.

A memorial has been established to support the Hill City and Sergeant Bluff, Iowa, high school basketball teams.

A celebration of life open house will be held Saturday, Feb. 1 from 2-5 p.m. at High Country Guest Ranch, 12138 Ray Smith Drive.

His online guestbook is available to sign at

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