On an appropriately beautiful Montana fall day, Eileen Morris came to the end of what she had described as a life of deep fulfillment and happiness. She was born on January 29, 1932 to parents John Elijah and Lula Frances (Lay) Badgley.
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Those early years of her wonderful life were shaped through the lens of a depression era mom and pop grocery business that she, her Mom, Dad and brother called home. Her values and sense of self came from the experiences of living in the very diverse local community that personified early Billings. She and her brother learned early on that everyone was to be treated with dignity and respect. During the summers of those formative years, Eileen and younger brother, Gene, would head for the Gallatin to the ranch on Little Bear Creek that their grandparents had homesteaded in 1893. This was a time spent helping with chores but more importantly, enjoying what the mountains had to offer.
Eileen met the love of her life, Willis (W.D.) Morris at a dance. He was an eight year navy veteran, cowboy, and Eastern Montana College art student, born and raised on the Morris Ranch on Otter Creek in southeastern Montana. They were married in the spring of 1951, a year after she graduated from Billings Senior High. They started their life together ranching in the Bitterroot Valley and then returned to Billings to raise a family and start a construction business. They shared a deep, unshakable bond together until the death of W.D. in 1996.
Eileen enjoyed being with people. In her mind, a meal was an excellent reason to get together with others. And why not discuss ideas and issues and of course, family. Whether it was joining with like minded people or meeting someone new, she maintained an awareness of the civic, political and local landscape. She was involved with many groups and organizations over the years as a volunteer or in some cases, in an official capacity. The focus of her interests included the empowerment of girls through Girl Scouts, the protection and improvement of our air quality through Yellowstone Valley Citizen's Council, the protection of Montana's resources and agricultural way of life through Northern Plains Resource Council, the promotion of all things Montana through Our Montana, and finally, the gathering of treasured stories, and histories of the women who contributed to Montana's legacy through the High Plains Women's Museum. Eileen was always at her best , with optimism and possibility, when engaged in a project, whether her own or those of friends or colleagues.
Her family, from their beginnings in the Gallatin, to the grands and great grands, formed the foundation that made her strong for so long. There is no finer example of what it means to be the best friend, daughter, sister, Mom and grandmother than Gram. We love you with all our hearts. The Ivan Morris families and the Rod and Lani Easton families
The service will be videotaped and cd's will be provided to individuals who prefer not to attend in person. Your request for a cd can be made by text to 855-7097. Visitation is September 24 from 1 to 6 pm. The service is scheduled for September 25 at 10:00 am. A family graveside service will follow later that day in Bozeman.