TUPPER LAKE - Charles Donald Morris, Ph.D., retired this month from Sunmount Developmental Disabilities Services Office after 30 years of distinguished service. He has made his life and his home in the Adirondacks and touched the lives of countless people as chief psychologist for the 1,700-person state organization based in Tupper Lake.
Morris was the primary clinical resource for the development of Sunmount's Center for Intensive Treatment, which was constructed in 1999, offering the only such treatment option in New York state at the time. There is now another CIT in the Binghamton area, based on the original model Morris helped develop in Tupper Lake.
Born in Miami, Fla., and achieving his doctorate at Vanderbuilt University in Tennessee, Morris remembers surveying the position openings across the country. Already an accomplished hiker and wilderness enthusiast, and having trekked the Glacier National Park, he accepted a position at St. Lawrence University in Canton in 1978 before being recruited by Sunmount four years later.
Donald Morris plays one of his compositions at his Sunmount retirement party on Oct. 12. Among the attendees were former Sunmount director Steven DeHond, current director Cheryl Greiner, many friends and family members, previous retirees and longtime personal and professional associates.
(Photo courtesy of Mark Keating)
In 1988, Morris collaborated with Paul Jamieson to write a new edition of an important paddling guidebook for our region, "Adirondack Canoe Waters: North Flow" (now in its third edition).
Among Morris' responsibilities at Sunmount were the recruitment of doctoral and master's level psychologists, and training and providing ongoing mentoring to help people with developmental disabilities live richer lives. He published original research arising from his work there (e.g., Neiderbuhl, J., C.D. Morris, and J.M. Mahr. "Determining the capability of developmentally disabled persons to give informed consent." American Journal on Mental Retardation, 1993, 98, 263-272).
In addition to Morris' academic and professional accomplishments, he is also a dedicated musician, having composed classical guitar sonatas which he enjoys playing on a Martin-inspired acoustic guitar that he made.
Morris is loved by many with his dry humor, keen wit and depth of character in all that he undertakes. Morris has said he will look to remain active in the community and has an interest in health care services in our area, such as hospice.
Morris lives in Ray Brook with his wife Karen and chocolate Lab Roxy, and stays dedicated to friends and family alike, including his son, Adirondack Daily Enterprise Staff Writer Chris Morris and his daughter, Kat Morris, who lives in The Bronx and works at the Marriott hotel on Times Square in Manhattan.