Frederick Morris, 60, who helped set up WUPW Fox and as a member of the Society of Broadcast Engineers helped set up various venues for broadcast television, died Tuesday at his Holland home.
His brother Dave said Mr. Morris’ death was unexpected.
“I’ve been surprised at the amount of people he’s run across in broadcasting,” his brother said. “He made a lot of friends in broadcasting.”
Steve Pietras, an engineer at WTVG-13 ABC Toledo, said he had worked with Mr. Morris for at least 19 years.
“He was really like a southern gentleman,” Mr. Pietras said. “He never let a problem beat him; he would always find a way to make a problem work.”
Mr. Pietras said Mr. Morris moved from Lima, Ohio, in 1985 to help set up WUPW. “He was one of the first few group of people to put Channel 36 on the air,” Mr. Pietras said. “That never would have happened if it weren’t for Rick.”
Mr. Morris held various positions at the station, including assistant chief engineer, chief operator, technical operations supervisor, IT manager, master control operator.
Mr. Pietras said Mr. Morris had two rules: “The first rule was don’t sweat the small stuff,” Mr. Pietras said. “The second rule was, everything’s the small stuff.”
Unless, he said, you called Mr. Morris Frederick. “He hated Frederick,” Mr. Pietras said, laughing. “If you called him Frederick, you’d better be ready to fight.”
In 2012, Mr. Morris, Mr. Pietras, and another longtime colleague were hired by WTVG.
In addition to his duties at the station, Mr. Morris was active in SBE105 of the Society of Broadcast Engineers. Mr. Pietras said the group, including Mr. Morris, helped wire the new Mud Hens and Walleye stadiums for broadcast. Mr. Pietras said Mr. Morris helped put together a lot of the coverage and remotes for Crystal Bowersox as she and eventual winner Lee DeWyze competed for the final prize on American Idol in 2010.
Mr. Morris was born July 12, 1954, in Lima, to Bernard Morris and Margaret “Peg” Morris Esmond. He was a 1972 graduate of Bath High School and a 1974 graduate of the United Electronics Institute in Louisville. He began his broadcast career with Morris Communications in Lima in 1974 at WLIO-TV and became a production engineer for WIMA-WIMT Radio until 1985.
Mr. Morris was involved in amateur radio and was a member of the Lucas County Amateur Radio Emergency Service and Skywarn, a system of weather spotters for the National Weather Service. Mr. Pietras said Mr. Morris came up with an equipment pack to help broadcast from a disaster scene.
Surviving are his mother, Margaret “Peg” Morris Esmonde, and brothers, Dave and Allan.
Services will be at 1:30 p.m. today at Chiles-Laman Funeral and Cremation Services, Shawnee Chapel. Contributions can be made to a charity of the donor’s choice.
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