The youngest of eight children, Roslyn Morris Deveson was born in Neepawa, Manitoba, on February 1, 1933. He was raised on a mixed farm at Arden and attended Inkerman elementary school. Following high school in Neepawa, Morris attended the University of Manitoba from which he graduated with a bachelor of science in agriculture (B.S.A.) in 1956. In 1958, he married Joyce Adams, with whom he raised three children: a daughter, Arlie, who became a nurse like her mother, and two sons, Grant and Ross, both of whom have B.S.A.s, like their father, from the University of Manitoba. Morris and Joyce have three granddaughters and one grandson.
Morris’s involvement in 4-H as a youth was the beginning of his life-long appreciation of the benefits it offered rural young folks. He began his professional career with the Manitoba Department of Agriculture as an agricultural representative in Hamiota. He moved on to become regional extension co-ordinator for western Manitoba in Brandon; assistant director, Extension Service Branch; and then director, Technical Services and Training and superintendent of Agriculture Societies in Winnipeg. Under Morris’s stewardship, 4-H in Manitoba and the role of agricultural fairs and societies reached a high point in the province.
In 1974, Morris became chairman of the federal-provincial Agriculture Employment (Manpower) Committee. He was designated a Friend of the International Agricultural Exchange Association in 1988 for his many years of service. Morris represented Manitoba agriculture on the Canadian Agriculture Research Council for six years, 1986-92.
Believing that agriculture is both a physical and a social science, Morris was committed to policies and actions that actually improved rural life. His ability to mentor and develop leadership while building strong communities has been recognized by his colleagues, farmers, and the committees with whom he worked. Throughout his 37-year public service career, Morris always had his feet on the ground and his heart in the rural community. He knew how farmers and rural folks thought and recognized that what worked in theory didn’t always work in practice.
Morris served his profession as president of the Manitoba Institute of Agrologists, director of the Agricultural Institute of Canada, and president of the Canadian Society of Extension. He has chaired the Farm Family of the Year Committee for the Red River Exhibition Association since 1993, served as a director on the Manitoba Agricultural Hall of Fame, and volunteered at the United Church, the Manitoba Heart and Stroke Foundation, and Senior Slo-Pitch Softball.
Morris Deveson has made, and continues to make, a significant contribution to his chosen profession, his community, his country and his family. He is a fine example of the best of public service.
Nominated by Red River Exhibition Association – 2015