The world seems a bit diminished with the passing of Otis Morrow this week. I collaborated with him on the Etzanoa board of directors for a few years and had occasional other interactions with him. His gentle dignity, thorough intelligence, sincere professionalism, and kind nature generated a remarkable impression. I never heard him speak harshly of anyone, nor anyone of him. If they were to have done a remake of the movie “To Kill a Mockingbird,” he would have been a mighty fine choice for the role of Atticus Finch.
Even though he was in his late sixties when I first met him, he was still strikingly handsome. In the neighborhood of six-five and athletically slender, it was hard not to notice him. Gage Musson, director of Cowley College’s Wellness Center and a darn good golfer himself, confided to me in 2019 that even though Morrow was forty years older than him, “I wouldn’t want to play against him for money. No way. Dude is a lot stronger than he looks.”
What Gage and other local links afficionados might not know is that it was golf that led Otis Morrow into his lifelong profession as an attorney.
“When I was a kid, I played a lot of golf and I played with a lot of guys. Many of them were lawyers—some old and experienced, some just starting their careers. Listening to them, watching them interact with each other, I fell in love with the lifestyle.”
A love of his hometown, a love of his profession and a love of people fueled him through over forty years of service. His professionalism, dedication, and accomplishments were recognized by the Kansas Bar Association and many others. Commemorations in his office document recognition as Outstanding Alumni (with wife, Terri) of Cowley College, declaration by the city of “Otis Morrow Appreciation Day,” service awards from the Salvation Army and others.
I am not qualified to further address his innumerable contributions to Ark City and the world beyond, but I know that they are extensive. In regard to his impact on me, I can quite authoritatively say that it was unforgettable. It has been more than rare in my life to meet and know someone of such character. He made my years in Ark City even more memorable and richer. I believe he truly was a prince of man and will be deeply missed by many.
Chief among those will be his wife, Teri. They made a remarkable pair and seemed made and destined for one another. Both independently and together, they made Cowley County a better place. Living just a couple of blocks away from them, I occasionally saw them around their home or taking a walk in the neighborhood. I also encountered them from time to time at civic functions. They were invariably cordial and always a pleasure to visit with. It seemed to me that they clearly gave back to the community far more than they took from it.
It is both honor and blessing to have known them.
Note: Portions of this essay were taken from an article I wrote for the Cowley Courier-Traveler in 2019.
Link to article I wrote about Otis three years ago: https://docarnett.com/2019/03/01/hospital-attorney-retires-after-serving-for-over-forty-three-years/