Former isle priest sur­vived Bataan Death March

Honolulu Star-Advertiser - - IN MEMORY - By Sarah Zoel­lick

John J. Mor­rett, who sur­vived the Bataan Death March and a ship sink­ing dur­ing World War II to be­come an Epis­co­pal priest in Honolulu, died Oct. 14 at the VA Med­i­cal Cen­ter in Lake City, Fla. He was 95.

Mor­rett founded the Church of the Holy Na­tiv­ity in Aina Haina in 1950, and also served as dean of St. An­drew’s Cathe­dral in Honolulu in 1962, and as vicar at St. Ge­orge’s Church near Pearl Har­bor and St. Au­gus­tine Church in Ka­paau, Hawaii.

He re­counted his ex­pe­ri­ences in the Army dur­ing World War II and in the church in his 1993 au­to­bi­og­ra­phy, “Sol­dier-priest.”

“He was some­body who made a mark, and he made a dif­fer­ence,” said his daugh­ter Sandy Mor­rett.

Dur­ing World War II Mor­rett served as an Army cap­tain in the Philip­pines. He was cap­tured by Ja­panese forces, sur­vived the in­fa­mous 60-mile Bataan Death march and spent 2 years in four pris­oner-of-war camps.

In 1944 he was aboard the Shinyo Maru, a Ja­panese cargo ship trans­fer­ring 750 Amer­i­can pris­on­ers of war to Ja­pan, when it was torpe- doed by the U.S. sub­ma­rine USS Pad­dle off the coast of Min­danao.

Mor­rett was one of 82 pris­on­ers to sur­vive. He swam to safety and was picked up by Philip­pine na­tion­als.

Mor­rett was or­dained into the Epis­co­pal Church in 1947. Af­ter a stint of min­istry in China, he moved to Hawaii in 1949 and spent two decades work­ing in the Epis­co­pal Church.

He spent the 1970s work­ing for the Epis­co­pal Church in his home state of Ohio, and in the early 1980s went to Bangkok to work at Christ Church, help­ing the Karen peo­ple, refugees from Burma fight­ing for in­de­pen­dence.

“He would ride an ele­phant to the en­camp­ment,” Sandy Mor­rett said of his mis­sions in Thai­land. “He was al­ways the mis­sion­ary, al­ways reach­ing out to not just peo­ple lo­cally, but peo­ple like that, the refugees.”

Mor­rett re­turned to Hawaii af­ter his work in Thai­land. For 11 years, he lived on Hawaii is­land writ­ing his au­to­bi­og­ra­phy as well as a book of 12 bi­o­graph­i­cal sketches about St. Fran­cis of As­sisi and 11 modern Chris- tian men and women, “Saints I Have Known and Known About.” He re­tired to Jack­sonville, Fla., in 1999.

He is sur­vived by his wife Joan, son Daniel, daugh­ters Sandy Mor­rett and Lisa Mor­rett Reid, and step­daugh­ter Christa Ger­man­son.

A ser­vice will be held at the Church of the Holy Na­tiv­ity at a fu­ture date.

Do­na­tions in Mor­rett’s mem­ory may be sent to Karen Refugees, c/o The Brackett Refugee Ed­u­ca­tion Fund, P.O. Box 8, Hamil­ton, NY 13346, or Holy Trinity Angli­can Church, 3889 Eloise St., Jack­sonville, FL 32205.

John J. Mor­rett: He founded the Church of the Holy Na­tiv­ity in Aina Haina in 1950.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from USA

© PressReader. All rights reserved.