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In Memory of Frank Morris

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Riverwest resident Frank Morris, 40, was shot to death in a robbery attempt on Saturday, June 19, according to a friend who was with him at the time. Morris, a resident of the 3100 block of North Pierce Street, had just returned to his house with longtime close friend, Kristin. The couple was accosted by two suspects described by detectives as being “African American, mid-20s, around 5’8.” No further details were available. The assailants knocked Kristin to the ground and stole her purse. Morris, a former Marine, took exception to the poor treatment of his friend and may have refused to give up his wallet according to some reports. An argument ensued, and he was fatally shot. Kristin had a different take on the incident. “He died defending me, and that’s something I’ll never forget. They say he was defending his wallet, but he was protecting me and trying to scare them off… he used to always say, your money’s not worth your life.” Morris’s funeral was held in De Pere on the 24th of June. He was survived by a wife, from whom he had been separated, and three children. Kristin described Morris as “a former marine who was very proud of his service, very patriotic.” She said Frank had been ready to sign up for military duty after 9/11 but was too old. He had been working as a federal security officer guarding the forestry department offices at the gas light building. “He was very good at his job,” Kristin said. He had been making plans to go to Iraq as a private security guard. Morris, who was half Oneida and half Irish, regularly spent time with Kristin at nearby establishments and had friends in the area. “He was the love of my life. We used to say we were soulmates; he was my best friend,” Kristin said. Morris rented from Gaby Boutillier, who lives on Humboldt Boulevard. She spoke well of her tenant. “If something needed work around the house he would do it.” Police have stepped up patrols in the area and continue to seek information about the suspects. Kristin told a story about Frank that she said characterized his attitude towards living here. “He had his truck stolen right after he moved to Riverwest, and they found it in front of a crack house downtown. He got it back and he was just so mad. But he said, you know what? This is my home now and I’m not going to let them kick me out.” Kristin, who lives in Shorewood, isn’t going to let the tragedy push her out either. “The world is a much lesser place without him. But Riverwest is still going to be my place too,” she said. Morris did not have life insurance and is survived by three children under age 12. Anyone wishing to contribute to a fund to help support them can contact the Riverwest Tavern on the corner of Bremen and Auer or see www.FrankLeeMorris.com where you can see photos, post comments and find out how to contribute to the memorial fund for Frank’s children.
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