The VSC recently lost one of its valued family members, former Commissioner Byron “Barney” Morris, who passed away May 3 at the VNS Hospice Care Center in Akron. He was 72.
Commonly referred to as Barney by friends and family, Morris was a veteran of the U.S. Army, having served in Korea and Vietnam. Following his active duty career, he returned home and married his wife, Myra, on July 15, 1967. Together they had a daughter, Brigette Spidle, with whom Morris was very close. She described her father as passionate about helping others, adding he was someone people always could count on to do things “by the book.”
“My dad was very disciplined and followed the rules,” Spidle said of her father. “At the Veterans Service Commission (VSC) he was known as the man who wasn’t afraid to tell a client no when they didn’t follow the rules.”
Spidle added that her father instilled a lot of discipline in her as well.
“Growing up, he taught me right from wrong, how to manage money and other invaluable life lessons,” she said. “He made sure I was prepared for anything.”
Morris was a career employee of Pepsi Co., retiring in 1994. He joined the VSC in 1997, eventually becoming commissioner, a role in which he spoke at various association events, led monthly meetings and set up flags in veteran cemeteries on remembrance holiday. Morris’ dedication and hard work – and especially his care and compassion – will be missed by many of those who came to know him during his time with the VSC.
“He was always willing to help others,” said Bob Giannone, retired VSC supervisor. “He was my best friend for 20 years. I couldn’t have asked for a better friend and person to work with.”
Morris’ passion for helping others and devotion to his fellow veterans carried over into other veteran assemblies. He served as past commander and quartermaster of Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW) Post 3383. He also was a member of VFW subsidiary Military Order of the Cootie, American Legion Garfield Post 566 and AMVETS.