Walt Morey

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Walt Morey
Walt Morey (author).jpg
Born(1907-02-03)3 February 1907
Hoquiam, Washington, USA
Died12 January 1992(1992-01-12) (aged 84)[1]
Wilsonville, Oregon
GenreChildren's books, novels
SpouseRosalind Ogden (m. 1934 − 1977, her death)
Peggy Kilburn (m. 1978)

Walter "Walt" Morey (February 3, 1907 – January 12, 1992), was an author of numerous works of children's fiction, set in the U.S. Pacific Northwest and Alaska, the places where Morey lived for all of his life. His book Gentle Ben was the basis for the 1967 movie Gentle Giant and the 1967-1969 television show Gentle Ben.[2]

He wrote a total of 17 published books, most of which involve as a central plot element the relationship between man and animals. Many of his works involve survival stories, or people going into the wild to "discover" themselves; redemption through nature is a common theme of Morey's works.[3]

Life and career[edit]

Morey began going to school in 1912, in Jasper, Oregon. He was never very keen on school. In 1934 he began working in a veneer plant, making brushes in a paintbrush factory and doing work in the woods. On July 8, 1934, he married his first wife, Rosalind Ogden, in Portland, Oregon. Rosalind died February 28, 1977. On June 26, 1978 he married Peggy Kilburn.

Early in his writing career, he also published numerous short pulp fiction stories. For much of his life, he was a boxer and diver, in addition to being an author.

Morey won awards for his books Gentle Ben, Kavik the Wolf Dog, Canyon Winter, Runaway Stallion, Run Far Run Fast, and Year of the Black Pony.


  • No Cheers, No Glory (1945)
  • Gentle Ben (1965)
  • Kävik the Wolf Dog (1968)
  • Angry Waters (1969)
  • Runaway Stallion (1970)
  • Gloomy Gus (1970)
  • Deep Trouble (1971)
  • The Bear of Friday Creek (1971), illustrated by Derek Collard
  • Scrub Dog of Alaska (1971)
  • Canyon Winter (1972)
  • Home is the North (1973)
  • Run Far, Run Fast (1974)
  • Operation Blue Bear (1975)
  • Year of the Black Pony (1976)
  • Sandy and the Rock Star (1979)
  • Hero (1980)
  • The Lemon Meringue Dog (1980)
  • Death Walk (1991)


Morey lived on property he owned in Wilsonville, Oregon and wrote many of his books there. After his death, his widow sold the property to developers. The resulting development was named Morey's Landing and also contains Walt Morey Park, a bear-themed park that features an 8-foot-tall life-size carved wooden statue of Morey's famous fictional bear, Gentle Ben.[4] In 2012, the Gentle Ben statue was stolen from the park by local teens and dumped in a roadside ditch. It was later found and returned to the park.[5][6]

The Wilsonville Public Library has also honored Morey by naming its Walt Morey Children's Room after him, displaying a 3-foot-tall bronze statue of him and occasionally displaying other memorabilia, such as his typewriter and editions of his books.[7][8]

The Reynolds School District in Troutdale, Oregon, opened Walt Morey Middle School in 1998.


  1. ^ "Walt Morey, 84, Dies; Author of 'Gentle Ben' - New York Times". nytimes.com. Retrieved 2014-04-18.
  2. ^ "Walt Morey, 84; Author of 'Gentle Ben' - Los Angeles Times". articles.latimes.com. Retrieved 2014-04-18.
  3. ^ "Obituaries | Walt Morey, `Gentle Ben' Author | Seattle Times Newspaper". community.seattletimes.nwsource.com. Retrieved 2014-04-18.
  4. ^ "Wilsonville Development Reaches 98 Percent Capacity." Portland Business Journal, Sept. 25, 2001, available online at Bizjournals.com, accessed May 23, 2015.
  5. ^ RoadsideAmerica.com Staff, "Wilsonville, Oregon: Statue of Gentle Ben." RoadsideAmerica.com, Aug. 13, 2012, accessed May 23, 2015.
  6. ^ KATU.com Staff, "Viewer's Tip Leads KATU News to Stolen 'Gentle Ben' Bear Statue." KATU.com, originally published Aug. 10, 2012, updated Nov. 5, 2013, accessed May 23, 2015.
  7. ^ Brinkley, Pam. "Wilsonville Statue Honors Hometown Author Morey". The Oregonian, Dev. 29, 1988, p. South Zoner 9.
  8. ^ City of Wilsonville, "Wilsonville Library Displays Walt Morey's 60-Year-Old Typewriter." The Oregonian, May 24, 2012, available online at Oregonlive.com, accessed May 23, 2015.
  • Something About the Author. Detroit: Gale Research, Inc., 1990.

External links[edit]