WEOGUFKA, Ala. (WIAT) – Her daddy called her “Pumpkin.” 

Over the years, the nickname got shortened, and he’d just call her “Punk.” And one day, Adeline Noel Morris – “Addy” to most who knew her – revealed she’d gotten the nickname tattooed behind her ear. Her mom, Joy, was slightly annoyed. She had told her children they could have tattoos, just not on the hands or above the neck. 

But daddy? “Oh, daddy didn’t care,” Joy explained. “That was daddy’s little girl.”

In the early morning hours of Oct. 22, Addy Morris died after the 1999 Jeep Wrangler she was driving left the roadway and overturned into a creek, according to law enforcement officials. She was only 23 years old. 

Her mother said Addy should be remembered for how she lived, not how she died. 

“She’s not a cross at a crash site,” Joy Morris said. “She was much more than that.”

Addy grew up in the suburbs outside Chicago with her brothers, including her twin. Her mother always said that when the twins were born, she got the little girl she’d wanted and a bonus boy, too. 

Like Joy, Addy was a tomboy as child, but she’d also liked being a girl, too. Joy remembers painting Addy’s fingernails every day before school.

She’d joke with Addy, saying that Julie, her aunt, should have been her mother. She was the girly one, Joy said, not her. 

Then, one day, when Addy was in kindergarten, Joy was called down to the school. Something Addy had written in her journal concerned them: “I have the wrong mom.”

Joy laughed as she remembered responding to the school officials. 

Addy's friend Claire said the two laughed often about this photo, taken at a sleepover. (Courtesy)
Addy’s friend Claire said the two laughed often about this photo, taken at a sleepover. (Courtesy)

“That’s because I tell her that every day,” she told them. The memory still brings a smile to her face. 

Claire Benner was one of Addy’s friends growing up in Illinois. She said she still giggles when she remembers their antics during sleepovers. They’d laugh until they nearly peed their pants, she said. 

“Addy was a strong, tough, kick ass, hilarious, beautiful and creative girl,” Benner said. 

When Addy was a freshman in high school, the family moved from the Chicago area to Chelsea when her father’s job was transferred to Alabama. 

It took Addy no time to make Alabama her home. 

“I think she had friends over after the first day of school,” Joy said. 

She said Addy had always loved school but was never simply a student: she was a social butterfly. 

“She had a million and one friends,” she said. “She was a magnet.”

Addy was a gymnast and a cheerleader. And, her mother said, she was a country girl, through and through. 

A twang surfaced in Joy’s voice as explained her daughter’s southern shift. 

“She was meant to be born and raised in Alabama,” Joy said. “She found her place here. She was born in the wrong town, and we’d brought her to the right place.”

Addy loved mudding. She loved goats and cows. She loved farming.

“She was cowboy boots, a skirt, and country music,” her mom said. 

The latter was a far cry from the classic rock she’d been raised on, Joy said, but Addy embraced life in the south wholeheartedly. 

"I'll be thinking of you every sunset," Addy's friend Lauren said. (Courtesy of Lauren Purner)
“I’ll be thinking of you every sunset,” Addy’s friend Lauren said. (Courtesy of Lauren Purner)

Addy’s accent, Joy said, had even changed. She’d developed a drawl. Daddy, Joy said, had become “deddy.” That was alright with him. 

Joy said that Addy’s relationship with her brothers and fathers had been an important part of who she was. Each of them had served in the military, and Joy said that Addy hadn’t been afraid to remind folks of the fact.

“My daddy is a Marine,” she’d tell anyone giving her grief. “Just so you know.” 

After high school, Addy had planned on going to nursing school, but she’d begun making good money working at the Coffee Shoppe in Harpersville. She absolutely loved the job, her mom said. It allowed her to do exactly what she wanted to do – serve others and, of course, talk. 

Joy said that recently, Addy had been maturing in ways that made her proud. 

Addy Morris loved animals, her mom said. (Courtesy of the Morris family)
Addy Morris loved animals, her mom said. (Courtesy of the Morris family)

Addy had helped with a fundraiser benefitting the Coosa County Animal Shelter. Afterward, she’d talked with Joy about the experience. 

“This is what community is,” Addy had told her. 

“She was becoming an adult,” her mom explained. “She was beginning to understand that the simple things in life is what makes a community.” 

When the Alabama State Troopers arrived at Joy’s home following her daughter’s accident, the life drained from her. She knew something was wrong. She told her husband to sit down. He didn’t listen. He stood, frozen. She told him again to sit again. He didn’t move a muscle. 

“It’s going to be a rough ride for all of us,” Joy explained. 

Joy was frank when asked how Addy’s brothers have coped with her death. 

“Horrible,” she said. “They’re doing the best they can.”

Addy’s twin is stationed in Japan, she explained, and his partner is having their first child. 

“There’s not going to be any Adeline there to spoil their baby,” Joy said. It’s a difficult reality to process. 


For her part, Joy said she’ll miss everything about her daughter.

“You’re not going to hear her laugh,” she said. “You’re not going to see her at the party.”

But for now, Joy Morris is holding herself together to keep others from falling apart.

“I’ve got to pretend that I’m okay,” she said. “And be strong for them.”

Before her death, Addy came to her parent’s home every Sunday for dinner. Often, when the time came to clean up, Addy was nowhere to be found.

“She’d be hiding out in the bathroom,” Joy said. “Avoiding the cleaning.”

She laughed as she tells the story. She wishes Addy were still here — dishes be damned. She’d give anything to have Addy hiding away in her bathroom, just a few steps and a few clean dishes away.

The country girl she was, Joy said, Addy had always wanted a cow. She’d begged her parents to fence in their yard and buy one.

Soon, her wish will come true. 

“Her daddy will buy her a cow,” Joy said, her voice certain. “And we’ll call it ‘punk.’”

Addy’s family has asked that in lieu of flowers, donations be made to the Coosa County Animal Shelter.