Dr. John Coulter Morrison died on Sept. 1, 2019, in Jackson, Mississippi from complications associated with a car accident in which his quick action may have saved the lives of others after his vehicle malfunctioned. Throughout his career as an obstetrician, he pioneered methods that made possible the safe delivery of infants born to mothers with health complications such as diabetes, preterm birth, sickle cell disease and hypertension.
He joined the faculty at the University of Mississippi Medical Center in 1979 as professor of Obstetrics and Gynecology and director of the Division of Maternal-Fetal Medicine. He was chairman of the department from 1995 to 2002. After his retirement, he continued to teach and conduct research.
He received many honors and awards for scientific and clinical accomplishments including the Individual Contribution to Maternal/Child Health Award from the National Perinatal Association and the William Beaumont Award from the American Medical Association. UMMC named Dr. Morrison a F.A.P. Barnard Distinguished Professor (1993–1997) and a Billy S. Guyton Distinguished Professor in recognition of his research contributions (1998–2002).
Dr. Morrison led numerous national professional organizations. He served on the board of directors of seven organizations and served as president of the Southern Perinatal Association, the Central Association of Obstetrics and Gynecology, the Society of Maternal-Fetal Medicine, the Society of Obstetrics Anesthesia and Perinatology and the South Central Obstetrics and Gynecology Society. He was also an examiner for the American Board of Obstetrics and Gynecology.
He earned his M.D. from the University of Tennessee College of Medicine in Memphis. Dr. Morrison interned and completed his OB-GYN residency at UT Memphis followed by two years in military service in Stuttgart, Germany. He taught at UT Memphis before joining the faculty of the UM Medical Center in Jackson. Along with his mentor, Dr. Winfred L. Wiser, Dr. Morrison was a key figure in bringing the Wiser Hospital for Women and Infants to fruition on the UMMC campus. He is remembered by family, friends, patients and colleagues as a compassionate healer, teacher, father and grandfather.
Born on September 11, 1943, Dr. Morrison is survived by his wife of 52 years, the former Rita L. Dickey. They have three children and four grandchildren: Paul Alan Morrison (Mary Beth) of Warrenton, Virginia; Cody Morrison (Katie) and grandchildren Abby and Coulter of Oxford; Hollidae Morrison and grandchildren Hollidae “Dae” and Emerson of Jackson.
He also leaves his sister Marilyn Morrison Williamson (Eddie), brother David Lyle Morrison and sisters-in-law Cheryl and Katherine. He was preceded in death by his parents, J. W. Morrison and Dorothy Curlin Morrison, and his brothers, William Curlin Morrison and Shelton Naylor Morrison.
St. James’ Episcopal Church of Jackson will host a visitation at 10 a.m. Friday, September 13 in Fowler Hall, followed by a Requiem Eucharist service at 11 a.m. Memorial donations may be made to the Diabetes Foundation of Mississippi at msdiabetes.org, (601) 957-7878, 800 Avery Blvd, Suite 100, Ridgeland, MS 39157 or to support perinatal research at UMMC at www.umc.edu/givenow, selecting category “Other” and specifying the area of support as “OB/GYN Unrestricted Fund” or mail to UMMC Office of Development Accounting, 2500 N. State Street, Jackson, MS 39216. Please denote “Dept. of OB/GYN Unrestricted Fund.”