Historical Albion Michigan
By Frank Passic

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Any photos not otherwise credited are from the personal collection of Frank Passic, Albion Historian.


Morning Star, November 12, 2006, pg. 9

I was informed that the year Sears Roebuck closed in Albion was 1975. Go ahead and make that correction on page 67 of my book “Growing Up in Albion.”

I recently received a nice letter I thought I’d share with our readers. It is full of information and history, and is written by Thomas Morris, a 1960 graduate of Albion High School. He writes:

“Dear Frank: I have just spent several hours on the internet [www.albionmich.com] enjoying your stories of Albion. I grew up there during the 1950s and have very fond memories of my youth. That is why I so enjoyed my time on the computer last night. Our family lived on E. Erie St [412]. My parents, David and Portia Morris, were on the staff and faculty of Albion College. We were very much a part of the community at that time. We attended St. James Episcopal Church. So much of what you have written about was a part of my life. I swam at Dutchtown. I marched in the high school band. I played baseball under Jerry Sacharski. I went boating on the Kalamazoo River. I rode the bus to Ann Arbor for the state debate championship. I had my hair cut at the Snug Barbershop. I delivered the Albion Evening Recorder. I listened to Dave Eddy on WALM. I even baby-sat for Robin James when he was very young. His older brother, Jimmy, was a best friend. I knew Tom Lloyd. I knew Dr. Whitehouse. Collins Carter wrote a recommendation for me. I watched the coronation of Queen Elizabeth on television at the Bitney home. I watched Cedrick Dempsey play basketball for the Britons long before he headed the NCAA. I clerked at the local J.C. Penney store. And my parents and brother are buried in Riverside Cemetery. So, these are among the many reasons I look forward to reading your book.

I left Albion in 1960, just a few weeks after high school graduation. I became the first person from Albion to attend and graduate from the United States Air Force Academy. Following a combat tour in Viet Nam and overseas service in Germany, I left the Air Force to start a career as an airline pilot. I was the first of three Albion graduates to fly jets for Delta Air Lines (Tom Morris, Dan Siler, Chuck Burch). It is a career that lasted 32 years until 2002 when I reached the mandatory retirement age. My last flight was from Shannon, Ireland to Atlanta, Georgia as the Captain of a Delta B-777.

This last sentence explains why I was so touched by your tribute to Colonel Joseph B. Duckworth. I knew him and his wife Mildred, as his daughter Kathy was a friend and classmate. He was a modest gentleman with gracious charm that was so much a part of his Georgia roots. I knew that he was a former Eastern Air Lines pilot and an Air Force colonel, but I didn’t learn of his instrument flying contributions until much later. I am truly the beneficiary of his legacy. I once landed a B-757 in Salt Lake City in fog so thick that I had to radio for a truck to come out and lead us to the gate. Colonel Duckworth’s pioneering work in instrument flight was one of the reasons I was able to make the landing under such adverse conditions.

Thank you again for preserving so much of the story of Albion, its citizens, and its heritage. I am excited that the book [Growing Up in Albion] is on its way. Yours truly, Thomas H. Morris. Lakewood, Colorado. E-mail: tmorris7co@comcast.net.”

From our Historical Notebook this week we present a photograph of Thomas Morris as a Delta B-777 Captain at London’s Gatwick Airport in 2002 just before retirement.

Thomas Morris as a Delta B-777 Captain in 2002 just before retirement


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