Robert I. Morrison, 71, of Wyncote, a retired engineer who served on Montgomery County school boards and committees for 30 years, died of complications from an infection at Abington Hospice at Warminster on Wednesday, June 2.

Mr. Morrison graduated from Pitman High School, and he earned a bachelor's degree in engineering from Virginia Polytechnic Institute while working at the Philadelphia Naval Shipyard as a cooperative-education student.

In the 1950s, he joined Honeywell International in Fort Washington. He was principal engineer in Honeywell's process controls division for 25 years until retiring in 2008.

Mr. Morrison married Sharon Wiley, whom he had met in the drama club in college, in 1959, and the couple raised three children in Jenkintown.

In 1979, Mr. Morrison was elected to the Jenkintown school board. Two years later he was appointed to represent Jenkintown on the joint operating committee of Eastern Montgomery County Area Vocational Technical School, now the Eastern Center for Arts and Technology in Willow Grove.

For the next three decades, he was active on Eastern committees as a representative for the Jenkintown board, for Honeywell, and for the Cheltenham School District, where Mr. Morrison became a board member in 2003 after the couple moved there in the 1990s.

Eastern provides career and technical education to high school students in nine school districts. Its programs include automotive technology, landscape contracting, welding, cosmetology, construction, and college-credit courses in accounting and computer science.

Mr. Morrison, who had considered a career as an auto mechanic before becoming an engineer, believed it was important to give students an opportunity to pursue both vocational and academic courses, said his daughter, Stacy.

He received the Distinguished Service Award from Eastern in May. At the awards banquet, former Eastern director Joseph J. Colaneri said Mr. Morrison had had a major role in modernizing the campus and updating the school's mission.

"Bob's leadership was instrumental in changing Eastern from a place whose utility to Montgomery County was questioned to a place that has consistently been acknowledged by state and national groups as a leader and model in career and technical education," Colaneri said.

Mr. Morrison was a talented woodworker and toolmaker, his daughter said, and renovated his house in Jenkintown. He also held a patent for a specialized ballpoint pen.

An automobile and train enthusiast,  Mr. Morrison always owned a sporty car including an electric blue  Fiat, an Alfa Romeo, and most recently a white  BMW X3 with a saddle leather interior he loved, his daughter said. He had an elaborate HO train layout in his basement and  traveled the country to see narrow-gauge railroads. Strasburg Railroad and Museum was a common weekend family destination, his daughter said.

In addition to his wife and daughter, Mr. Morrison is survived by sons Gregg and Scott, a brother, two sisters, and two grandchildren.

A memorial service will be private.

Memorial donations may be made to the Eastern Center for Arts and Technology, 3075 Terwood Rd., Willow Grove, Pa. 19090.

Contact staff writer Sally A. Downey at 215-854-2913 or sdowney@phillynews.com.