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Staying Active, Staying Strong

Erica Addison

Like many other retired educators, Clarissa Morris of Casper, Wyoming has kept very busy in retirement.


She travels (she taught English and German as second languages in Croatia), volunteers for the Wyoming Education Association, and walks almost every morning—when she isn’t tutoring homebound students, gardening, canning and freezing, selling tickets to sporting events, or caring for her one-year-old granddaughter (during the workweek, that is).

And she still keeps in touch with the German family that hosted her when she was a Fulbright scholar in the ‘60s.

Even a 2003 breast cancer diagnosis didn’t keep Morris down for long. In fact, she credits one of her many “odd jobs” with improving her health condition.

“I firmly believe that delivering [newspapers] has helped keep my back strong,” she says.

Though she was diagnosed in the summer following her retirement, Morris—who taught statistics labs, algebra, and German in varying capacities for more than 45 years in Wyoming high schools—returned to teaching for one more year before leaving the profession permanently a year later.

She didn’t want to draw her students’ attention to her illness, she says, though faculty and staff knew.

Morris says her involvement in education began in her elementary school days when a teacher encouraged her to help others after completing assignments early; today she is an enthusiastic regular volunteer for WEA-Retired.

“Not bad for a little farm girl from Montana,” she says.

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