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Obituary (CO): Morris Alfred Esmiol Jr. '45

Posted on 02/16/2018

Morris "Morry" Alfred Esmiol Jr.  (1922 – 2018)

Morris Alfred Esmiol Jr. ("Morry"), 96, died peacefully on January 26, 2018, surrounded by family. He was a giant among men - brave, honest, kind, and always the gentleman. He lived an extraordinary and accomplished life and will be deeply missed.

Morry was born on January 17, 1922 to Morris Alfred and Lucile Esmiol of Colorado Springs. Their quest for excellence shaped Morry, instilling in him a love of family, learning, nature, and service. Exemplifying his driven approach to life, Morry was a proud "14er," having climbed all 54 of Colorado's 14,000 feet peaks and the Matterhorn in Switzerland. He excelled in sports and education, attending the Phillips Academy Andover and United States Naval Academy, where he played football.

Morry married his beloved wife, Elizabeth Hunter Esmiol, "Beth," in 1946. They raised two children, moved across the United States twenty-eight times while Morry served in the Navy, and returned to his cherished home of Colorado, where they enjoyed the mountains, gardening, and their golden retrievers. They were married seventy years.

A highly decorated Naval officer, Morry served as a fighter pilot and proudly completed over 1000 carrier landings. He served aboard ship in the Pacific during WWII, secured Japan after the War, trailed Russian MIGS during the Korean conflict, and served in Vietnam. He was a test pilot, an atomic and special weapons pilot, and one of the few men to volunteer to fly through and test detonated atomic bombs. Morry was Air Boss of the USS Ranger and Commander of the US Naval Air station, Lakehurst, NJ. He retired as a Captain in 1973.

Morry's second career was also one of service. Following his father's footsteps, he served as Chairman of the Sachs Foundation for twenty-five years, providing scholarships to African-American Coloradoans. In recognition of his service, the Sachs Foundation established a University of Colorado engineering scholarship in his name. He was also a volunteer firefighter, served on multiple Colorado planning boards, and was a chair of many community service organizations. He retired at eighty-eight and moved to Bothell, Washington to be closer to family.

Morry lived a principled life, full of discipline, hard work, and integrity. He had a commanding presence, yet was humble and understated. His kind smile, booming voice, and matter-of-fact sense of humor will be missed.

He is survived by his son, Morris A. Esmiol III (Martha F. Esmiol), daughter, Carol E. Youssef (Nazih Youssef), nine grandchildren, and twenty-five great grandchildren. He is preceded in death by his wife, Beth, sister, Patty Rae Slothower, brother, Dr. Pattison Esmiol, and granddaughter, Kirsten Esmiol.

Morry will rest in Tahoma National Cemetery, WA. In lieu of flowers, please give to a charity of your choice. You can sign his guestbook at

Published in The Gazette from Feb. 14 to Feb. 18, 2018