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Former Pediatric Dentistry Chair Dr. Merle Morris Passes Away

March 29, 2010

Dr. Merle Elgin Morris

Former Pediatric Dentistry Chair Dr. Merle Morris died Sunday, March 21, 2010, age 88.

He was born April 3, 1921 in Orderville, Utah to Elgin Henry and Julia Esplin Morris. He married Pearl Carpenter June 23, 1942 in the St. George LDS Temple.

A 1954 graduate of the University of California San Francisco School of Dentistry, Merle practiced pediatric dentistry for over 40 years in the Bay Area. He retired as a Tenured Clinical Professor of Pediatric Dentistry at UCSF, having served as chair of the Division of Pediatric Dentistry at the UCSF School of Dentistry. During his service at UCSF, he was responsible for the formation of the original Division of Pedodontics and for the development and initial accreditation of the Advanced Education Program in Pediatric Dentistry. He was a Diplomate of the American Board of Pediatric Dentistry and a charter member of the California Society of Pediatric Dentistry.

He served in the Air Force during World War II. As part of his service, he particularly cherished his years contributing to the rebuilding of Japan and had the pleasure of sharing this experience with his wife and first child. His ties with Japan remained strong, and he returned there many times to lecture and teach at various dental institutions, including the Fukuoka Dental College. Additionally, he had lecture and teaching opportunities in Mexico, Peru, Israel and Yugoslavia.

For many years, Dr. Morris worked with his UCSF colleagues in mobile dental clinics to bring dental health care to migrant farm workers in California’s Central Valley as well as kibbutzim in Israel, and communities in the former Yugoslavia.

After his retirement, Merle continued his association with the university and as a member of the attending dental staff of Children’s Hospital Medical Center, Oakland. He was active in his church and was involved for years with the Boy Scouts of America.

He is survived by his wife, Pearl. His children are Victoria Ann Gould, who predeceased him; Merle Elgin Morris, Jr. (Mel), Fort Worth, Texas; Linda Marie Morris, Orinda; Arlynn Morris Chen, Elk Grove; James Richard Morris, Emeryville; Lawrence Rodney Morris, Spring, Texas; and Jon Robert Morris, Vancouver, Washington. He is also survived by nineteen grandchildren and six great grandchildren.

Funeral services were held Friday, March 26, 2010 at the Moraga Ward Chapel of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

Donations in Merle's honor may be made payable to:

The Regents of the University of California
Merle E Morris Fund in Pediatric Dentistry
Attention: Marina Dronsky, PhD
Manager, Department of Orofacial Sciences
UCSF School of Dentistry - Box 0422
University of California, San Francisco
San Francisco, CA 94143-0422

Relevant Links:
UCSF Dentistry - Pediatric Dentistry: