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Columnist for W. Ky. paper dies at age 108

HARTFORD — A 108-year-old columnist for a Western Kentucky newspaper has died just three weeks shy of his 109th birthday.

The Rev. John Crystal Morris was still writing a column for the Ohio County Times-News in Hartford when he died Oct. 27, according to the Kentucky Press Association.

He started his career as a contributing columnist at age 101 for the Ohio County Messenger and when the Messenger closed in 2004, he began writing for the Times-News.

Sam Ford, a longtime friend, said Morris lived in a nursing home and wrote his column on an electric typewriter.

"John spent about 80 years preaching behind the pulpit," Ford wrote in an e-mail. "As an evangelist, he traveled around the country. Prior to the beginning of this decade, he was living in Las Vegas. When he came back to live with his son, the Rev. John David Morris, he was only able to preach sermons on rare occasions, his age no longer allowing his body to stand behind the pulpit.

"When I was working for the Ohio County Messenger, he contacted us about starting to write a column for the paper," Ford wrote.

His column was called "Something to think about." Some columns were of a religious nature and others focused on his memories of the early 20th century and how much life had changed, Ford said.

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