Mark Morris Jr., DVM, Ph.D., a trustee and vice-president of scientific activities for Morris Animal Foundation, died Jan. 14 at his home in Topeka, Kan. He was 72.
Dr. Morris Jr. gave much guidance to Morris Animal Foundation, which was founded by his parents, Mark and Louise Morris, in 1948.
“Dr. Morris was committed to ensuring that his father’s vision of a foundation to improve the health and well-being of animals would carry on into perpetuity,” said Patricia Olson, DVM, Ph.D., Morris Animal Foundation president and chief executive officer.
Morris Jr. dedicated his life’s work to improving the lives of animals through nutrition. He continued the work of his father, Mark Morris Sr., DVM, who was considered the founder of veterinary clinical nutrition and creator of Prescription Diet pet foods. Morris Jr. went on to expand this line of diets and developed the Science Diet line of products.
Morris Jr., who was the founding member and on the board of regents of the American College of Veterinary Nutrition, also pioneered the ZuPreem line of diets for exotic pets and zoo animals.
“My grandfather was a visionary in clinical nutrition, but it was my father, Mark Morris Jr., who turned my grandfather’s vision into reality, and then went on to realize his own vision by greatly expanding the body of knowledge about animal nutrition and providing innovative, quality diets for the health of all animals worldwide,” said David Morris, president of Premium Nutritional Products Inc., that now owns the ZuPreem line.
Over his lifetime, Morris Jr. researched and developed more than 150 products. The family business Mark Morris Associates provided product research and development, and Hill’s Pet Nutrition provided the production, sales, marketing and distribution.
Morris Jr. retired in 1988 following the sale of Mark Morris Associates to Colgate Palmolive Co., which now owns Hill’s.
Morris Jr. leaves his wife of nearly 50 years, Bette Morris, Ph.D., two sons, one daughter and five grandchildren.