Arnold Morrison, a dairy farmer who worked at Opportunity Farm for Boys for many years and dedicated his life to the New Gloucester Bible Church, died Wednesday after a brief illness. He was 86.

Mr. Morrison, known by friends as “Arnie,” worked on various farms throughout his life. He briefly operated a farm on Penny Road in New Gloucester and then bought an 80-acre dairy farm on the outskirts of Auburn. He tended to up to 40 cows during his 20 years running the farm.

In the mid-1970s, Mr. Morrison went to work for Opportunity Farm for Boys in New Gloucester. There, he worked with at-risk boys and taught them the basics of farming and the value of hard work. His son, Galen Morrison of Gray, said several of the boys kept in touch with his father through the years.

“He was a mentor to the boys, who in a lot of cases didn’t have anyone else,” his son said. “He loved the fact that he was still doing farming, but without the pressure of it being his own.”

Mr. Morrison, who graduated second in his class at New Gloucester High School, relished the peace and fulfillment that came from farming, family and community.

He was married to Doris Morrison for 66 years. The couple lived in Gray and raised six children. His son reflected on his parents’ life together, noting that they rarely left each other’s side.

“He was always focused on the family, the kids and his wife. There was no selfishness,” Galen Morrison said. “He built his life around his family and provided for us and his church.”

Mr. Morrison was an active member of the New Gloucester Bible Church. He served on numerous committees and helped to build the church in the late 1960s. He served as a deacon, taught Sunday school, and led a church youth group for many years. His son said he attended church services every Sunday morning and night. In recent years, he sat in the same pew, the third from the back on the left side of the church.

“He was a God-believing man. His Christian faith was very important to him and his family,” his son said. “He was a quiet teacher, who taught us by example. … He was always there. He was always in the home and always provided. He worked hard all his life.”

In recent years, Mr. Morrison became a groundskeeper at Gray Village Cemetery. He later took a job mowing the fairways at Spring Meadows Golf Course.

“He was still out there on his tractor mowing. He was very proud of that. He did that into his 80s,” his son said.

Melanie Creamer can be contacted at 791-6361 or at:

mcreamer@pressherald.com