“Count your blessings; count them one by one” are lyrics of a familiar hymn. This charming couple lives by that mantra. They have a loving family, were led to friendly SunBird, and attended our SunBird Community Church as soon as arriving in 1995.
Joanne and Gerry Morford testify the Lord has blessed them throughout their lives. “The church had no services in the summer and only a meager attendance of about 40 in the winter. We still go to church to worship, not just play. God is the center in our church,” remarked Gerry. At present there are Sundays when the attendance is over 300.
He is responsible for obtaining the guest ministers, some from seminaries and others in retirement and has led the services since 1996. Volunteers willingly do most of the tasks and there is a church guiding board of more volunteers.
Joanne’s family eventually migrated from Michigan to Oregon, while Gerry’s started in the wind blown city of Amarillo, Texas, which was in the Great Depression’s Dust Bowl. “I remember as a young child my mother telling me to stick paper into the key holes. The dust would come in everywhere,” he said.
They met in high school when Joanne transferred in. “I noticed her because she was the prettiest girl in the school,” Gerry recalls.
After graduation, Gerry had a year in Oregon University, but the Korean War was booming, so he joined the Army for a three year tour which included being sent to Germany by the Army Security Agency for two years.
Once discharged, he finished his BS degree in Business Administration by using the GI Bill. He chose becoming Director of Labor Relations for a public school district as a career.
Joanne attended Oregon State, eventually becoming office manager for a steel fabricating company.
Still believing Joanne was the prettiest girl around, Gerry asked and she accepted in 1958. In March they celebrated their 56th wedding anniversary. Since that day life has been good for the couple.
There are three sons and a daughter, eight grandchildren, one great-grandchild and three more on the way. Sons Jim and Phil with their families reside in Oregon; Rick is in Idaho with his; while Laura and family live in nearby Chandler.
Joanne and Gerry began coming to SunBird in 1995 and purchased a home. Neither were fond of the Oregon winter. It was in 2006 they began staying all year. They now reside in a second house on Pebble Beach.
Joanne, being a talented artist, thought of utilizing her lovely paintings as part of the decorations. One can see them now hanging throughout their home. She did study with SunBird resident and artist Irene Coatta. “I love to decorate,” admits Joanne, and it shows.
Gerry likes to fish and work in the church. Joanne was once president of the Niners and the Garden Club. Both are readers and sometime golfers. “We enjoy the special friendships made here, and the SunBird Community Church is a blessing.”