A.L. man dies in Arizona crashPublished 11:18am Thursday, January 10, 2013
A 49-year-old Albert Lea man who died in a head-on crash in December in central Arizona is being remembered for his impact on the Minnesota swine industry.
Randy Joseph Morris was en route to visit family on Dec. 29 with his wife, Leanne, 48, when the crash occurred.
“It’s going to be a loss to the swine community,” said Gordy Toenges, a member of the Freeborn County Fair Board and the co-show manager of the Minnesota State Spring Barrow Show.
Toenges said he watched Morris grow up and saw him develop a passion for showing pigs. As an adult, Morris served on the livestock judging team at the University of Minnesota and has owned his own show pig operation. He and his wife started the Junior Barrow Classic at the Minnesota State Fair.
“He was well thought of and was a great guy,” Toenges said.
Morris and his wife were driving west on Arizona Highway 260 in a 2001 Oldsmobile van when a 2005 Honda SUV reportedly crossed the centerline and collided head-on with the Morrises’ vehicle, according to the Payson Roundup, a twice-weekly newspaper in Payson, Ariz.
A third vehicle, a 2007 Mercury, also heading west, reportedly couldn’t avoid the wreck and also crashed.
The newspaper stated there were nine people in the three vehicles in the crash, and the number of serious injuries required the use of seven helicopters from around the state. Six people were trapped in their vehicles and had to be removed using the Jaws of Life. Another person was thrown from a vehicle.
Morris reportedly died at the scene of the crash, and his wife was also reportedly injured, the newspaper stated.
“The show pig community has lost a family member,” said Claire Drescher, an Alden show pig producer, who has known Morris for probably 40 years.
Drescher said Morris was an advocate for the livestock industry and encouraged youth to participate. He was one of the most conscientious livestock judges Drescher has ever met.
“Because of that, he was well-respected, and people looked forward to showing pigs under him,” he said.
Drescher said other than his moments with his family, one of Morris’ proudest moments was this past summer when one of his pigs was sold as a Champion 4-H pig at the Minnesota State Fair.
Morris managed the feed sales division of Northern Country Feeds in Adams.
His visitation is slated from 6 to 8 p.m. Friday and starting at 12:30 p.m. Saturday until the start of the funeral service at 1:30 p.m. at St. Augustine’s Catholic Church in Austin.