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Elbert's Story

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OTEGO - Elbert Osborne "Ozzie" McMorris II, 86, of Otego, passed away Tuesday, Sept. 19, 2017, at the A.O. Fox Nursing Home, Oneonta.
He was born July 13, 1931, in Oneonta, a son of the late Elbert and Leona B. (Boyes) McMorris.
On June 17, 1962, Ozzie married Marjorie Downie in Otego. They celebrated their 55th anniversary this year.
In his youth, Ozzie lived in Fergusonville for 15 years until 1946 when he and his family moved to Otego.
He graduated from Otego Central School, Class of 1949.
In 1951, Ozzie joined the United States Navy, proudly serving his country during the Korean Conflict. Most of his time in the Navy was spent on an aircraft carrier, serving as the ship's Aviation Metal Smith and attaining the rank of Petty Officer 2nd Class.
Following his honorable discharge, he returned to Otego and began working for his father at the McMorris Hardware Store until 1971 and then S&N Gas for two years. In 1973, Ozzie became the Superintendent of Streets and Water for the Village of Otego, a position he held until he retired in 1993. During his retirement, he worked part-time for the Bookhout Funeral Home as a funeral attendant. In 1994, Ozzie became the superintendent of the Otego Evergreen Cemetery and served for 10 years.
One of Ozzie's greatest passions throughout his life was firefighting. Fresh out of high school, he joined the Otego Volunteer Fire Department in 1949, being an active member for more than 60 years and serving as the fire chief from 1967 to 1980. He served on the Fire Advisory Board of Otsego County for many years and was a New York State Fire Instructor from 1982 to 1999. Ozzie received the Gary Goodier Fire Service Award in 1996 and the Fireman of the Year Award for Otsego County in 1999. In 2012 Ozzie compiled the history of the Otego Fire Department. He also was a member of the emergency squad for several years.
Ozzie was a life member of the Faculty Student Association at the New York State Academy of Fire Science and a member of the New York State Association of Fire Chiefs. He was a member of the Otego Presbyterian Church since moving to Otego in 1946 where he was also a trustee and elder. He also was a member of the Otego American Legion since 1955. Ozzie was a longtime active member of the Rifle and Pistol Club.
Ozzie is survived by his loving wife of 55 years, Marjorie McMorris of Otego; his three sons, Richard and Marylyn McMorris of Gurnee, Illinois, Robert and Michele McMorris of Wellsville and Patrick and Tina McMorris of Otego; his grandchildren, Sherri McMorris, Kirsten and Ron Jaeger, Scott McMorris, Shanna Hitchcock, Michael Hitchcock, Hayley Palmer and Paige Palmer; and his great-grandchildren, Brooke and Haileigh Hitchcock.
He is also survived by one brother and sister-in-law, Duane and Mary McMorris of Otego; his sister-in-law, Esther Downie of Oneonta; several nieces, nephews and cousins.
Ozzie was predeceased by his brother-in-law, James B. Downie.
Calling hours will be held from 2 to 4 p.m., Sunday, Sept. 24, at the Bookhout Funeral Home, 357 Main St., Oneonta.
A funeral service will be held at 2 p.m., Monday, Sept. 25, at Otego Presbyterian Church,16 River St., Otego, with the Rev. Doug Horne officiating. Interment will follow in the Otego Evergreen Cemetery, Otego.
In lieu of flowers, Ozzie's family kindly requests that you consider making a charitable donation in his memory to one of the following worthy organizations: Otego American Legion Grave Marker Fund, P.O. Box 256, Otego, NY 13825; Otego Emergency Squad, P.O. Box 467, Otego, NY 13825; or Otego Evergreen Cemetery, c/o Mary Alice Brown, 307 Mill Creek Road, Otego, NY 13825.
To light a candle or send Ozzie's family an online condolence, please visit www.bookhoutfuneralhome.com.
Funeral arrangements are by the Bookhout Funeral Home.
Published on September 21, 2017
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