Morris Franklin Lee
Our beloved husband, father, grandfather and great-grandfather Morris Franklin Lee, age 89, passed away peacefully in his sleep on September 20, 2023 in Kaysville, Utah. He is preceded in death by his parents, George Franklin and Melba Morris Lee, and his brother, Richard Lee. He is survived by his wife, Linda Faldmo Lee, and seven children from two marriages and a step-daughter.
Morris was born on June 14, 1934 in Ogden Utah, the first of five children to George and Melba Lee. He graduated in the class of 1952 from Ogden High School where he earnestly began to pursue his passion for music while participating in other school activities including cheerleading. His high school experience was followed by two years at Weber College where he earned an Associate’s Degree in 1954 and then two years of military service in the United States Army where he was based in Berlin, Germany.
Upon completion of his military service in 1956, Morris returned to his academic pursuits at the University of Utah where he earned a Bachelor of Music degree in 1958, a Master of Music degree in 1965, and later, a Ph.D. in Music in 1983. These academic experiences and accomplishments proved to set the foundation for Morris’ professional life which enabled him to truly live out his life’s dream while inspiring and enriching the lives of countless others.
This is not an exaggeration or an overstatement. Music was his passion. He was very gifted in his craft and he never stopped sharing his abilities with others.
Through his career, Morris served as a Choral Director in the Granite School District in the greater Salt Lake City area. For 29 of these years, he was the Choral Director at Cottonwood High School where his impact and influence can only be characterized as “distinguished” and “stellar.” Perhaps worth noting is the fact that all of Morris’ own children have met or even known many of Morris’ former students and can attest—he was absolutely beloved by them.
During Morris’ tenure at Cottonwood, the school was arguably the producer of the highest quality musical performances in the state at that level. In addition to producing award winning choirs and musicals, Cottonwood’s musical productions filled the school’s 3,500 seat auditorium, night after night. Among many other honors and accolades, Morris was the recipient of the 1994 Music Educators Association Outstanding Music Educator award, the 1995 Granite School District Teacher of the Year award, and the 1996 Music Educator of the Year award. And many of Morris’ students went on to attain notable accomplishments in the field of music, including attending and graduating from the prestigious Julliard School of Music.
In addition to his work at Cottonwood High School, Morris was Director of the Oratorio Society of Utah for 28 years. This choral group has a rich 108-year history performing across the country and abroad, and has been featured on various radio and television networks including NBC, CBS and PBS. Perhaps the Oratorio Society of Utah is best known for the annual tradition of performing Handel’s Messiah in venues such as the Salt Lake Tabernacle and University of Utah’s Libby Gardner Concert Hall. For his work at the Oratorio, Morris received the Governor’s Award for the Arts in 1990.
Morris was an innovator and pioneer in music education, starting the first electronic keyboard lab in the State, enabling students to attain knowledge and skills pertaining to the use of digitized keyboards, recording, and other music producing technologies.
Dad was a humble, quiet man. He never sought the praise of men. His musical talent, however, brought out a seemingly different version of the man. When instructing a student, teaching a class, or directing a choir, Dad would transform from introvert to amazing musician and master teacher.
In his personal life, Morris was a loving husband and constant companion to Linda Faldmo, who he married in 1975. Morris and Linda added two children to Morris’ five children from his first marriage and Linda’s daughter from her previous marriage. To say Morris and Linda were a loving couple doesn’t really cut it in describing the relationship, as any observant person would quickly conclude their bond is one of intense commitment, uncompromising loyalty and supreme devotion. Among his many accomplishments and qualities as a person, Dad’s story and legacy will always begin with his love for his wife.
Dad’s legacy as a Father will forever be evident in the interests, values and spirit of his children. And while he would admit himself that he was challenged in outwardly expressing his love for us; in any analysis, we know—he loves us deeply and profoundly.
Dad showed his love for us by sharing his gifts, his interests, and his values. Of course, he taught us to love and appreciate music. He also instilled within us a love for adventure, the outdoors, Utah’s mountains, and nature in general. He taught every one of us how to snow ski and water ski. He took us on strenuous hikes. We explored National Parks. He encouraged us to participate in competitive sports. He trained and ran marathons with us.
Dad was never the dictatorial parent. He explained. He advised. He taught. And then he led by example. His life was one of self-discipline, self-governance, and self-reliance.
He taught us the importance of hard work and making a positive contribution to this world. One would be hard-pressed to meet a man with a greater work ethic than Dad. He was NEVER doing nothing.
And finally, Dad is a man of deep and abiding faith. Today, somewhere, he continues to love and live the Gospel of Jesus Christ.
Dad—your story is rich, full of meaning and purpose. May we all carry your name with all the dignity and respect you would desire. We love you and will miss you greatly.
Viewing September 25, 2023 at 9:45-10:45 AM
1275 West 200 North Kaysville, Utah
September 25, 2023 at 11:00 AM
1275 West 200 North Kaysville, Utah