‘Visionary’ Ocean Observer, Seacoast’s Ru Morrison, Dies at 52
John "Ru" Morrison, an esteemed ocean scientist and founder of the Northeastern Regional Association of Coastal Ocean Observing Systems (NERACOOS), died this week. According to a MightyCause started for the family, Morrison had been fighting an aggressive form of brain cancer.
Morrison founded NERACOOS in 2009 and served as its directed until he stepped down in 2019. NERACOOS is a nonprofit providing weather and ocean data to fishers and commercial shippers and to emergency managers issuing storm warnings. The organization's data can help determine if conditions are safe for passage. Their systems span from New Brunswick to New York.
According to an article in Scottish Field from 2016, Morrison would have been 52 at his time of death.
New Hampshire Sen. Jeanne Shaheen posted on Facebook that she "had the pleasure of working with Ru and witnessing his passion for ocean science first hand" and called him a "true visionary" in the world of ocean observing.
"His charisma and outgoing nature, coupled with his ocean science expertise, was evident in everything he did," Shaheen wrote. "My staff and I all had the fortune of joining him for many boat rides on Great Bay. ... We are grateful for his service to the people of New Hampshire, the Northeast, and this country. My thoughts are with his family, his wife, Ann Michelle, and his children during this time."
Morrison attended the University of Wales in Bangor, United Kingdom and later served as an assistant professor at the University of New Hampshire, according to his LinkedIn page.
Per the MightyCause page, Morrison was a chief of Clan Morrison, a Scottish clan based in the Isle of North Uist, which Morrison visited quite frequently.
NERACOOS released a statement on Facebook regarding the death of their founder:
"Though it’s nearly impossible to conceive of a NERACOOS without Ru, we hope to honor the gift of his life by always ensuring our organization is a legacy he can be proud of," the statement read. "Our hearts go out to Ru’s wife and children, and all of Clan Morrison, who have lost their chief far too soon. We share in your grief, and wish peace and healing for all who loved Ru in the difficult days to come."
Correction: THis article originally listed Morrison's age at the time of his death as 46. He was 52.