Thanks to Guest Editor Bob Woodling for help researching this page.


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Based at Los Angeles, CA, Louise S. Morris landed at Colorado Springs once, on Saturday, August 24, 1935 at 7:30AM. She hit the ground running, because her departure was recorded as 7:32AM the same morning. Her destination was cited as Colorado Springs, so perhaps she was practicing landings and takeoffs. The National Air Races were to begin in Cleveland, OH on August 31st, but there was no indication in the Register that she was headed to Cleveland. Likewise, none of the other landings by pilots either side of her recorded their destination as Cleveland.

Louise Shipman, Ca. 1909 (Source: Woodling)
Louise Shipman, Ca. 1909 (Source: Woodling)


To Peterson Field she flew the Waco UKC (S/N 3849) identified as NC14004. According to the Register, she was the owner of the airplane. We know that she flew NC14004 down the west coast to and from Mexico at least once, and that she flew it across the country (see below).

Louise Shipman was born November 15, 1891 in Illinois. The 1900 U.S. Census places her at age 9 living with her father, David (59), mother, Helen (45) and younger brother, Stanley (6). They lived in Richland, KS. I have no information regarding her early life or primary education. She did, however, attend Baker University in Baldwin, KS, matriculating ca. 1908. After one year she became ill and dropped out of Baker around the 1910-1911 school year due to her sickness. The photograph, left, is from her Baker University yearbook, probably circa 1909-11.

But, she was a member of the Alpha Chi Omega sorority at Baker. The sorority kept track of alumnae in its annual, Lyre of Alpha Chi Omega, a publication of the sorority. For example, the Lyre for 1914 (page 250) published two sentences about her wedding to Gordon Barnard Morris, below, at Las Vegas, NM. Note that they lived in Denver at the time.

Louise Shipman Marriage, 1914 (Source: Woodling)
Louise Shipman Marriage, 1914 (Source: Woodling)

The previous year, the Lyre, page 558, announced their engagement. Louise was 22 years old at the time of her engagement and hadn't been a student for 4-5 years at the time of these Lyre notes.

Another issue of the Lyre for November, 1915-July, 1916, page 114, below, mentioned a visit from one of Morris' sorority sisters after Louise and Gordon had moved to Los Angeles.

Lyre, Nov '15-July '16 (Source: Hathitrust)


Various other issues of the Lyre noted her attendance at Baker University functions and other activities. For the 1938 edition, she wrote a lengthy article titled "Flying for the Fun of It." Her article discussed the simple joys she and her passengers found in flying.

Fairbanks Daily News-Miner, December 3, 1914 (Source: Woodling)


News of her wedding was reported in the Fairbanks Daily News-Miner (AK) of December 3, 1914, right. It seems her husband was a local in Alaska for a period of time. The 1920 U.S. Census cites, at age 29, their residence as 4915 Third Avenue, Inglewood, CA. Homes in that neighborhood today do not look like they are of 1920s vintage. She was living with Gordon (35, b. 12/4/1884) and their infant son Gordon B., Jr. (age six-months).They owned their mortgaged home. Gordon, Sr. was an auditor for an automobile agency. He was a 1906 immigrant from Britain, via Canada and naturalized in 1926.

The 1930 Census lists her with her family at 557 Mariposa, Los Angeles, CA. That neighborhood today consists of newer construction interspersed with a couple of vacant building lots. Morris, now age 39 was with her husband and son (now age 10). Also in the household was a servant, Kathryn Bakker (46), a native of Holland. Morris, Sr. was now the "Credit Mgr." of an "Automobile Co."

Louise Morris traveled internationally and is found, among ancestry.com records, cited on at least three U.S. Immigration Service forms. First, she traveled from Agua Caliente, Mexico to San Diego, CA on May 13, 1934. The record of that flight in NC14004 is below. She was accompanied by her husband and son. Note the presence in the airplane of Alexander H. Chase. Chase was also a pilot who worked at the Grand Central Air Terminal (GCAT). He is found over a dozen times in U.S. Immigration Service records flying similar flights from Mexico to the U.S. It is not clear from this record who was flying the airplane from Mexico, Morris or Alexander. Please direct your browser to Chase's page over on the GCAT Web site for information about him.

U.S. Immigration Form, May 13, 1934 (Source: ancestry.com)

Similarly, Morris and her husband returned from Ensenada, Mexico on March 21, 1937 flying NC14004. The U.S. Immigration form, below, shows them as the only passengers on her Waco. The Mariposa address is still current.

U.S. Immigration Form, March 21, 1937 (Source: ancestry.com)

Thirdly, another U.S. Immigration form dated June 23, 1939 cites Morris and her husband returning to the Port of New York from Hamilton, Bermuda. They sailed on the Monarch of Bermuda. I do not know the purpose of their trip, but it was probably theraputic (see below).

Bakersfield Californian, February 12, 1935 (Source: Woodling)
Bakersfield Californian, February 12, 1935 (Source: Woodling)


In 1940, the Census again placed Morris with her husband at their 1930 Mariposa address. They owned this home, which was valued then at $12,000. Also living with them was Bertha Ellinwood, housekeeper, aged 49. Gordon, Jr. was not living with them. The reason was his death in 1935 as described in the sad article at right from the Bakersfield Californian, February 12, 1935. What a crushing blow this must have been to the Morris family.

Oakland Tribune, April 8, 1940 (Source: Woodling)


That Louise was still flying in 1940 is evidenced by the excerpt from an article, left, that appeared in the Oakland Tribune, April 8, 1940. The entire article was entitled, "Wives No Longer Shy of Sky: Some Fly Better Than Hubby." The author of this article must have been asleep over at least the past decade.

The 1940 Census also lists the educational background for the Morrises. Gordon, Sr. had two years of college and Louise one. She never returned to Baker University as a student. Gordon, Sr. was now employed as an "Executive" in the "Autos-Petroleum" industry (he worked for the Greer-Robbins Company, a Los Angeles automobile dealer). Another interesting finding in this Census is that neither he nor Louise is listed as having worked during any week in 1939, and their joint income for the year was zero. If this was true, think Great Depression. Also, if true, their nestegg must have been substantial, because they traveled to Bermuda (see above).

Louise Morris has no Web presence that I could find. I do not know when or where she learned to fly. If you can help fill in any of these details, please let me KNOW. She flew West January 6, 1948 in Los Angeles, CA. She was 57 years old. I do not know the cause of her death.

Noteworthy, her husband traveled to Brazil shortly after her passing. If the photograph was current, he would have been 64 years old in the visa portrait, below. This form documents his travel near November, 1948. His occupation was "Business man."

Gordon Morris, Travel Visa, 1948 (Source: Woodling)
Gordon Morris, Travel Visa, 1948 (Source: Woodling)

Gordon Morris, Sr. outlived Louise only by another five years, almost to the day. His one-sentence (cropped) obituary appeared at right, ca. 1953. Note that he had remarried Helen D. (b. 1910) and was survived by a sister, Florence (1896-1972).

Gordon Morris, Sr. Obituary, Ca. 1953 (Source: findagrave)


Morris passed away January 7, 1953. His residence at the time of his death was at 503 June Street in Los Angeles. He died at sea of coronary thrombosis on board the cruise ship President Polk. He and Louise, and Gordon, Jr. were all buried at the Forest Lawn Memorial Park, Glendale, CA.



THIS PAGE UPLOADED: 12/14/15 REVISED: 12/20/15