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Updated: 11/23/2013 08:00:02AM

Richard D. Morrison

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Richard “Dick” D. Morrison, 85, of Venice, Fla., passed away peacefully Thursday, Nov. 21, 2013.

Dick was born in Baltimore, Md., on Feb. 1, 1928, the son of Anna M. and William E. Morrison. Dick was educated in the Baltimore city schools and was a decorated veteran of World War II, serving in France and Germany.

After the war, Dick was employed by Hobbywoods and Delta Power Tools as a salesman and demonstrator for woodworking tools and supplies.

Dick was also a radio DJ for WAYE Radio in Baltimore before being transferred to Florida in 1964, where he was a radio DJ for WSEB in Sebring.

Dick had a passion for woodworking and carpentry. He built many houses, furniture and cabinets and was an excellent craftsman. His love of woodworking showed on everything he made.

He moved to Venice, Fla., in 1966 and joined the Venice Volunteer Fire Department. In 1970 the Fire Department became a paid entity of the city of Venice. Dick was hired onto the department. He continued his education in the fire sciences and retired at the rank of battalion captain.

After his retirement, Dick and his wife, Barbara, opened Gems by Barbara and Tropical Scenes & Things on West Venice Avenue in downtown Venice, which they operated for many years. During the years of owning the stores, they were able to travel to Brazil often to mine for many of the beautiful gems sold in their store.

Dick served as president of the Gulf Coast Mineral, Fossil and Gem Club for several years and was also show chairman for its annual show at the Venice Community Center.

Upon retiring again, Dick and Barbara traveled throughout the world and extensively in the U.S. with their RV, visiting all 50 states.

Dick was a member of Venice Presbyterian Church and an affiliate member of First Presbyterian Church in Franklin, N.C., where they enjoyed their summer home for many years.

Dick was also a 32nd-degree Mason, Venice Masonic Lodge 301, a life member of the Fort Myers Scottish Rite, 32nd degree, and a Shriner with the Sahib Center in Sarasota and Venice Shrine Club. He was past secretary, treasurer and chief of the Venice Shrine Keystone Kops Unit.

Dick was in many parades with the Keystone Kops and pulled a little K-9 dog in a trailer behind his bicycle.

Dick was also a member of American Legion Post 0400.

Dick was predeceased by his loving wife, Barbara. He was also predeceased by a daughter, N. Susan Miller.

He is survived by a daughter, Wendy Morrison of Baltimore, Md. He is also survived by four stepchildren, Scott (Susan) Lear of California, Linda (Scott) Russell of Florida, William (Beth) Lear of New York and Peter (Stefanie) Lear of Florida.

Surviving also are 10 loving grandchildren, Erik, Marc, Kristina, Sarah, Emily, Rachelle, Bill IV, Jacob, Elyse and Chloe. Dick’s brother, W. Robert Morrison, of Canton, Ohio, also survives.

Services: A Memorial Service will be held at 10 a.m. Saturday, Nov. 30, at Venice Presbyterian Church. To share a memory, visit:

Contributions: Memorial donations may be made to Suncoast Humane Society, 6781 San Casa Drive, Englewood FL 34224; or Shriners Hospital for Children, c/o Sahib Temple, 600 North Beneva Road, Sarasota FL 34232.