Robert "Allen" Morris
Robert Allen Morris (Allen) was born in Tampa, Florida on October 3, 1952, and placed up for adoption with the Florida Children’s Home Society. On January 15, 1953, Allen was adopted by Jesse Frank and Wilma Morris of MacClenny, Florida, a small town 30 miles west of Jacksonville with a population of 1,178 in 1950. Allen and Jesse were close, and Jesse frequently took Allen fishing and to shoot his .22 rifle. Jesse was killed on August 17, 1960, in an accident that occurred while mowing on a tractor. Wilma never remarried. Allen loved hunting and roaming the woods and fields, and Billy Knabb, a friend of Jesse’s, frequently took Allen hunting, starting when he was nine. As a teenager, Allen raised, bought, and sold cattle, and grew corn for feed. The money he made helped defray his college expenses. He was active in the Future Farmers of America, winning eight FFA awards, including State Area II Star Farmer. Allen graduated from Baker County High School in 1970. He completed his Bachelor’s (1974) and Master’s (1977) degrees in Food and Resource Economics from the University of Florida. He was inducted into Omicron Delta Epsilon, the International Scholastic Honor Society in Economics; Alpha Zeta, the National Leadership Honor Fraternity of Agriculture; Gamma Sigma Delta, the National Scholastic Honor Society of Agriculture; and won the “Outstanding Graduate Student of the Year Award” for the University of Florida Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences, in 1976.
Allen held managerial positions with A. Duda & Sons, Inc., a Florida-based agricultural company with operations in six states when Allen worked there, that produced and marketed vegetables, sugarcane, citrus, sod grass, and cattle; The Coca-Cola Company; Tropicana Products; was an international agribusiness consultant; Cutrale Citrus Juices USA; Prudential Agricultural Investments; and from 2007-2012, he was on the faculty of the University of Florida in the Food and Resource Economics Department, stationed at the Citrus Research and Education Center, with responsibilities for both educational programs and research. He was Vice-President of Sales and Marketing for Blue Lake Citrus Products, that produced and marketed the Noble brand of high-end specialty citrus juices sold in supermarkets and restaurants nation-wide and in Canada from 2012 until it was acquired by Sun Orchard in November 2016, after which he retired. Allen was passionate about the future prosperity of Florida’s citrus industry, frequently making presentations about growing the orange juice market to the Florida Citrus Commission, and about effectively managing greening disease, or Huanglongbing (HLB), at conferences and trade association meetings. Allen enjoyed deer and wild hog hunting with his two sons, Stephen and Michael, on their hunting leases, and quail hunting and shooting sporting clays with his wife, Kate. In his retirement, he owned and operated Morris Agribusiness Services, a consulting company. Allen’s advice as a consultant has been sought after by global soft drink companies, national and regional citrus juice brands, international agricultural asset management firms, commodity trading exchanges, insurance companies, banks, and citrus growers and processors. His clients have ranged from Fortune 100 companies to family-owned businesses located in Florida, Georgia, Illinois, New York, Texas, California, Mexico, and Brazil. Allen has been an invited speaker on agribusiness topics in Florida, New York City, Boston, New Orleans, Texas, California, Poland, Germany, Spain, England, Brazil, Mexico, and China. He taught four case studies on agribusiness in executive education programs at the Harvard Business School and was an invited speaker at international food policy meetings at Harvard University’s Kennedy School of Government. He died from complications due to Interstitial Lung Disease. He is survived by his wife, Kate; his two sons, Stephen and Michael; his daughter-in-law, Bethany; and his grandson, Jayden.
Cremation arrangements will be undertaken by Oak Ridge Funeral Care in Winter Haven, FL. A Celebration of Life Service will be held at St. John’s United Methodist Church in Winter Haven, on Saturday, October 21, 2023. The gathering will begin at 2:00 p.m., followed by a service and reception.
In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to The Children’s Home Society of Florida and The Boys & Girls Clubs of Polk County in his name