Ed Zieralski - UT San Diego - May 29, 2014

Pieces from Norman Rockwell, LeRoy Neiman among those available in sale of Marty Morris’ collection


Most of us have a couple of fishing or hunting trips we wish we would have taken.

You know, that trip where family, work or life got in the way of what might have been a trip of a lifetime.

One of those trips for me was supposed to be on the Ken-Dan, the boat run exceptionally by the late Dr. Marty Morris, who died nearly two years ago after a heart attack. It was a Make-A-Wish Tuna Challenge trip, and to be honest, I’m not sure what got in the way. But something did. I didn’t go. Somehow, fishing without the sportswriter, Marty and his son Ken won the tournament. They landed some giant bluefin and swept the deck of prizes. Later, Marty and Ken offered me part of the bounty, a Ken-Dan Tuna Challenge fishing jacket that memorialized the Morris’ victory in a tournament they and Marty’s wife Carolyn and their team helped make one the top fundraising ventures for kids with life-threatening illnesses.

Today, I still wear that Ken-Dan jacket proudly, and I mention Morris today because this weekend, Carolyn Morris, his wife and fishing partner for 47 years, is holding what she’s aptly calling an “All Things Fish Private Art Sale.” She said Marty’s family has taken what they want to remember him by, but there still are many things, all things fish, remaining. She plans to sell the couple’s Del Cerro home and move into something smaller and more manageable.

Marty Morris  As anyone who knew Marty Morris would expect, the art he collected is high
  quality, ranging from classic artists like Norman Rockwell and LeRoy Neiman to
  accomplished marine artists like Guy Harvey, Wyland, Chuck Byron, David Wirth,
  John Stobart, Carey Chen and Gunther Granget. The sale also includes stained
  glass art by Morris, who became a terrific artist after retiring as an orthopedic
  surgeon. There’s a baby swordfish mount from a fish Marty collected from a
  commercial net, bronze, metal, porcelain and crystal sculptures of fish, a vast
  fishing and boating book collection valued once at $30,000, limited edition lamps,
  barbless tuna hook displays, an antique ship captain’s desk, a bronze dolphin base
  glass table top and more.

   Those interested are welcome to email Carolyn Morris at to arrange a private showing. But the main hours are Saturday and Sunday, 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. each day.

On Wednesday, Carolyn showed me many of the treasures that will be available, and they are impressive. But during my short visit, what really came through was something I knew, but was driven home by my stay. Marty loved his family, his orthopedic practice and, of course, fishing. And he always fished with family and friends like Harry Okuda.

“It was important for him to be with his family, and he loved fishing with his boys,” Carolyn said.

The Morris boat was called the Ken-Dan for his sons, Ken and Dan.

Recently, Ken Morris, who followed his father and today is a doctor, traveled to Cabo San Lucas with his wife, Meredith, and daughter, Amelia. The purpose was to charter “an old family friend,” as Marty once called the Ken-Dan. The boat had been sold to Mexican interests in 2007 and was renamed the Linda Fiesta. When Ken boarded the boat, he noticed many of the Morris’ creature comforts and personal touches had been removed from the boat, now a charter vessel under a Mexican flag.

Fishing had been tough off Cabo, but on this trip, it was as if Dr. Sword, the old captain of the Ken-Dan, was running the wheelhouse. By the end of the trip, the Morris family had four marlin encounters, three marlin hookups and they released all three. It all was in the tradition of Marty Morris, who once caught two swordfish in four days in 1979, earned the Los Angeles Billfish Club’s Grand Slam trophy for catching a sailfish, black marlin, broadbill swordfish, white marlin, blue marlin and striped marlin and in 1990 landed a marlin, solo.

Most of all, Marty Morris would have been very pleased that all marlin were released on the Linda Fiesta trip. But he likely would love to hear that the old lady, as Ken called it, now is part of Baja’s Marlin Patrol Fleet, the Marlin Patrol IV, that will monitor the marlin resource and fishery.

Morris was a staunch supporter of marine conservation, believing that the marlin resource was being decimated by the catch-and-kill crowd. Born in Chicago, Morris had plenty of that Midwest toughness. He was a character, but to me, more importantly, he had character, lots. It was an honor to know him.