Maurice W. Barstad, age 90 of Vernonia, OR passed on Sunday February 24, 2013 at The Grove Assisted Living Facility in Forest Grove. He was born in Edmonds, North Dakota and moved to Oregon at an early age with his parents. A decorated Navy veteran, he became a policeman in Portland and switched over to become a firefighter for the remainder of his career of service.
The passing of one man rarely shakes the world order, but this one man did leave the world better than he found it. Morrie’s legacy was constructed of humility, generosity and simple acts of caring and loving. He was an uncomplicated and uncomplaining man of prudence, integrity, courage, and fidelity. He was a throwback in as much as his word was his bond. That was evidenced by all his dealings, but particularly how he honored his wedding vows to Eleanor, his wife of sixty five years when she was incapacitated by Alzheimer’s disease. He loved and cared for her with all the energy he could muster while his body was ravaged by cancer until he could no longer assist her in even the simplest of ways. The term “Stand-up Guy’” has no better example than Morrie.
Morrie’s family, whom he treasured and adored, was everything to him and to be welcomed into his greater family required only a courteous “hello.” You didn’t have to prove yourself to Morrie. He didn’t judge people by the color of their skin or the cut of their clothes. He gave everyone the opportunity to communicate who they were by their actions. He regaled his family with stories of his immigrant grandparents and parents and the incredible hardships they endured simply to stay alive in the harsh winters on the plains of North Dakota and Alberta, Canada.
Eleanor has survived him and through the thick veil of her disease, still saw his deterioration and admonished him to “Eat better Papa” as his frailty stole over him. He spent his last days in the same facility as his beloved Elly so he could be near her. He is survived by his son Terry of Aloha, OR., daughter Sharon Ferguson of Union, WA., step daughter Lois Jollie of Idaho, five grandchildren and six great-grandchildren, all of whom he cared deeply for. He will be greatly missed by them all.