Tributes have been paid to a much-loved retired teacher who has died a few months after celebrating his 100th birthday.
World War Two veteran Arthur Morris, who was born and bred on Merseyside but later settled happily in Wrexham, passed away at Pendine Park’s Gwern Alyn care home where he had lived since May.
The funeral will take place at the Bradley Road Baptist church in Wrexham at 11am on Friday, December 2.
Gwern Alyn manager Cindy Clutton said: “Arthur was a delightful man who was universally popular with fellow residents and staff alike.
“He was a real gentleman with a thoughtful nature, and a wonderful smile.
“It was a real privilege to look after him in his twilight years and welcome his lovely family when they came to visit.
“We were proud to organise a birthday party befitting the major milestone when he celebrated his 100th birthday with us at Gwern Alyn.”
Longevity runs in the family because Mr Morris’s father lived until he was 104 and the father of five also credited his deep faith for his long life – as well as staying active and being interested in others.
Youngest daughter Ruth Morris said he was a strong family man with 17 grandchildren and 11 great-grandchildren scattered around the UK.
A prized birthday card from the Queen bearing her smiling photograph on the front was among a bumper mailbox full of good wishes Mr Morris received on his birthday.
He also received a framed letter from the Lord Lieutenant of Clwyd, Henry Featherstonehaugh.
Mr was born on August 28, 1922, to Walter and his wife Christina Morris in Birkenhead.
He grew up in Merseyside, attending Woodside Elementary School and Birkenhead Park High School for boys. He passed his school certificate aged 16 and civil service exam, aged 17, in 1939. But then the Second World War erupted.
On March 17, 1941, the day of a heavy German air raid on Liverpool, Arthur enlisted with the RAF, with whom he trained to be an armourer, servicing guns on Blenheim aircraft.
He was posted to St Athan RAF camp in the Vale of Glamorgan where he met, fell in love and after three months married young nurse, Bette.
In 1943 Arthur was posted to Takoradi on the Gold Coast – now Ghana – and while abroad his first son, Philip, was born.
The couple went on to have four more children – two sons and three daughters in all.
His daughter, Elisabeth Davies, who lives in Wrexham, said their father was always on the go, joining in community activities right into his late nineties.
She said: “Even last year at the age of 99 he was still living a full and independent life, making friends wherever he went.
“He was known for his kind nature and generous spirit. He was always guided by his faith which was very important to him and he was a loyal member of the Bradley Road Baptist Church, Wrexham, where he regularly played the piano and organ. Music was always a big part of his life.”
On leaving the RAF after the war Mr Morris was employed in industry for a spell but soon discovered his real passion was for education and so he re-trained as a teacher in the 1960s. He went on to teach at Vaughan Road Junior School, near New Brighton, Wirral, until his retirement in 1982.
It was then that he and Bette moved to Wrexham but Arthur’s beloved wife sadly died in 1984.
Arthur’s faith pulled him through and he lived a busy life making many good friends locally.
Elisabeth said: “Dad has a deep Christian faith and has put his musical abilities and piano playing skills to great use in churches he has attended over the years. He’s also passed on his musical talent to several of his children, grandchildren and great grandchildren
“Everyone at Gwern Alyn were so welcoming after dad went to live here.”
“For his birthday we decided to visit in small groups over a few days, grandchildren one day, friends another, so that it wouldn’t be too overwhelming for dad.
“The staff were wonderful about it and we all thank them enormously for helping to make his whole birthday week extra special.”