She was born on September 11, 1913, on a farm in Eastland County, TX, to William Walter and Mona Gabriella Dillard Johnson. When she was three years old, her family which then consisted of her parents, three older sisters, an older brother, and an infant sister, traveled by wagon and horseback and settled in the Lillie and Salt Fork communities in Collingsworth County, TX. In Collingsworth County, two more sisters and a brother were added to the family, for a total of nine children. Isla Mae was the middle child. Growing up, she attended the Lillie and Salt Fork schools as far as these schools offered classes. She then boarded in Wellington and finished high school in 1931, graduating as valedictorian of her class.
Following high school graduation, she boarded in Canyon, TX, and attended West Texas State Teacher’s College (now West Texas A&M) for a year to fulfill the qualifications for a provisional teacher’s certificate, awarded on the condition that she continue to work toward her Bachelor’s degree by taking correspondence and extension courses and doing resident course work at West Texas State during the summers and when Collingsworth County rural schools dismissed for six to eight weeks in the fall for the manual cotton harvest. By determinedly following this procedure, she received her Bachelor of Science degree ten years later in 1941 and continued until she was awarded her Master’s Degree in Education in 1951.
She began her teaching career at the Collingsworth County community schools of Salt Fork, Lillie, and Rolla before being hired by the East Ward School in Wellington and, later and upon receipt of her Bachelor’s Degree, she was hired by Quail School. She spent 32 years at Quail, during which time she taught 5th Grade until she was selected as Elementary School Principal in 1951 and , finally, as High School Principal in 1963. During the years of 1975-1978, she served in the elected position of Collingsworth County Superintendent of Schools until that office was phased out by the Texas Education Agency, at which time she retired after 40 years in the education profession. After retirement, she continued to participate in a great number of community and professional organizations.
Isla Mae married Lewis Alva Morris in Hollis, OK, on November 28, 1934, a union which lasted until his death in 1971. Most of their married life was spent on a farm in the Marella community. She was also preceded in death by her parents and her six sisters and two brothers. She is survived by her son Alton Darryl Morris and wife Sharon of Cache, OK. She is also survived by three granddaughters: Debra Morris and husband Michael Uebel of Austin, TX; Nicole James and partner Ray Flowers of Austin; and Sharyl Morris and husband Erik Stulken of Settle, WA. Additionally, she is survived by one great-granddaughter, Louisa Morris-Uebel of Austin, and a large number of nieces and nephews.
Services will be at 1:30 p.m. Wednesday, August 26, 2015 at the First United Methodist Church with Rev. Gene Weinette, pastor officiating. Burial will be in Memorial Gardens Cemetery. Arrangements are by Adams Funeral Home.