Huel D. Morphis departed this life to be with his Lord Jan. 7, 2022 at the age of 93. He was born Nov. 22, 1928 in Okemah, Oklahoma to Edger and Daphne Iris (Treat) Morphis. He grew up in a tenant farm family moving often and was bit by the wanderlust bug while quite young. At the early age of 4, Huel spent most of his time in the woods stalking an unwary bird with a slingshot or wandering about to see what was over the next ridge. Although not able to travel until he finished school, he managed to curb his restlessness by becoming an arm-chair explorer — digesting every book on travel and geography he could get his mitts on from the school library. Growing up he didn’t have a watch but learned to tell time by the sun and could usually tell time within 15 minutes of the correct time.
In 1947 his parents and younger brother moved to Tehachapi, California. Huel stayed behind to finish high school, graduating valedictorian of his class, then loaded up his black and tan hound Dan into a train and headed to join his family. At age 20, he and his cousin Carl rode motorcycles through Mexico to the Yucatan Peninsula and back.
He was inducted into the Army infantry and involved in intense fighting in the Korean Conflict in 1951-52, achieving the rank of sergeant and returning with various medals and to serve as a cadre at Fort Ord training recruits. Upon his discharge from the army, he worked on the family farm for a while and then traveled throughout the USA.
In 1954 Huel began working for the California Department of Corrections, where he advanced regularly, moving around the state. After 32 years, he retired as a correctional administrator at the California Correctional Center.
Huel was never free of the wanderlust and love of the outdoors. He spent his retirement doing the things he loved — traveling the country, especially the western states, camping, hiking archery, Dutch oven cooking, fishing and hunting. He had an exceptional command of languages and could write with clarity and wit. He authored many short stories and two books — “Lest We Forget, A Genealogy/Anthology of the Morphis and Treat Families” and “Prison Life, My 32 Years Behind Bars.”
Huel accepted Christ in 1958, serving Him and His church for the rest of his life. He retained a zealous faith all his life. He is preceded in death by his parents; older brother Bert; sisters-in-law Alice and Dolores Morphis; and first wife Elizabeth (Osburn). He leaves behind his wife of 38 years, Mary; brother Ed; children Lisa (Dave), Linda (Rowland), Joel, Brian, Keith, Anthony (Naomi); stepsons Jerry and John (Jeanette) Salmon; 10 grandchildren; and one great grandchild.
A celebration of his life will take place outdoors in the trees at 472-120 Richmond Road in Susanville at 11 a.m. May 7, 2022.