A few months ago, Allan Morphett passed away — quite unexpectedly, in fact. Most of us who knew him were shocked when we first heard the news. Since his death, for one reason or another, there has been little in the way of commemorating his life, let alone acknowledging his many contributions to our community. There was no obituary, no funeral, not even a celebration of his life.

It’s probably too late for any of that but Allan deserves better and our community is a better community than that. As we often say, we’re all in this together and none of us escape alive.

Like many of us, Allan Morphett was a very complicated person and like most of us he had a good side and what some would consider a bad side. But Allan was a person who, more so than most of us, gave freely of his time and energy when it came to things he believed in.

Those of us who have lived here for a while can remember when there was a big push to consolidate our three water districts and may also remember that Allan and his wife Maggie were right in the middle of it.

They probably made a few friends with people who shared their point of view and made a few enemies with some who did not agree with what they were trying to accomplish. But making a few enemies didn’t seem to bother either of them very much. What they cared about was bringing about the change they believed was best for our community.

As we know, Allan served as president of the Idyllwild Water District Board of Directors for many years, having been re-elected year after year, and was still active at the time of his death. Doing so was not only a big responsibility, it consumed a considerable amount of his time and attention and those of us who live in the district owe him a debt of gratitude.

I knew Allan primarily because we were both members of the local Rotary Club. Not long after I joined the club in 2002, Allan was elected club president and true to form, set out to make a difference. And without a doubt he succeeded. At some point Allan had decided the Town Hall kitchen needed a complete remodeling and upgrading and, as he did with everything he undertook, he went about enlisting almost all of the able-bodied people in the club — and a few who were not in the club — to show up every weekend to help Allan achieve his goal, which, of course, became our goal as well.

Needless to say, Rotary isn’t the only organization to benefit from his vision, his organizational skills and his determination. As is so often the case, people drawn together for a common cause wind up becoming good friends and that was certainly true in this case. Allan was my friend for many years.

But something happened to Allan during his final years of life. He became bitter and even a little mean at times. And much as I hate to say it, he was not my friend when he died. Nevertheless, I strongly believe that Allan deserves our appreciation and gratitude for the things he did for our community and his willingness to fight for what he believed in.

I will always try to remember the Allan I knew a few years ago, the one who, along with his wife Maggie, invited dozens of us to their home for dinner and other gatherings on many occasions, and the one who raised heaven and earth to make sure we were able to enjoy the bagpipers at our annual Independence Day parade.

And so I say to Allan, rest in peace my friend and know that we’ll never forget you.

Ben Killingsworth