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Frisbee Inventor, Walter Morrison, Dies at Age 90

By Bridget Tyler on February 12th, 2010

Frisbee-MDWalter Fredrick Morrison was playing with a metal cake pan in the 1950s when he had an idea. That idea became the Frisbee, an iconic toy that has sold almost 200 million units world wide.

According to Frisbee historian Phil Kennedy, Mr. Morrison was taken with the cake pan’s ability to hover briefly and travel for long distances on a light toss, kept in the sky by its rotation.  Frisbees generate lift by accelerating the upper airflow around them in order to generate a pressure difference that gives rise to a lifting force.  The small ridges near the leading edges of the toy act as turbulators, reducing flow separation by forcing the airflow to become turbulent after it passes over the ridges.

Morrison called his version of the disk “Pluto Platter” – a name and design he sold in 1957 to Wham-O toys.  Wham-O General Manager and Vice President  Ed Headrick redesigned the disks to make them more controllable and accurate and branded them as “Frisbee.” The name Frisbee was adopted because it was the nickname given to the platter by college students in New England. A name that came from the Frisbie Pie Co, a local bakery whose empty tins were tossed around in the same way that the Pluto Platters were.

Headrick had himself cremated on his death and his ashes were molded into memorial Frisbees and given to family and close friends. It seems unlikely that Morrison, who died of cancer today at age 90, will follow suit.

There are hundreds of different Frisbee’s available today – everything from disc’s that glow in the dark to glider disks made from thin fabric to disks that whistle while in flight to disks designed specifically for dogs.

Community Center in Dallas Going Strong at 100. go to site cedar valley college

Knight Ridder/Tribune Business News December 5, 2002 By Esther Wu, The Dallas Morning News Knight Ridder/Tribune Business News Dec. 5–Some women banded together to minister in a settlement house in an area “surrounded by poverty, sin and degradation of the lowest type, there being within a radius of six blocks of this home 30 saloons and 40 houses, dens of evil …” The Dallas community has changed a lot in the last 100 years, but the need to help people hasn’t. That’s a lot of the reason for the survival of the Wesley-Rankin Community Center.

A century of service is “no small feat for an organization whose seed was planted by a group of women who chose to see something great, in a place where so many chose not to look,” said the center’s executive director, Yesenia Reyes.

She credits much of the center’s rich history to the work of the volunteers and staff.

“The Wesley-Rankin Community Center is a very special place,” Ms. Reyes said. “I felt it the first time I walked through its doors. We are not here to dole out charity. We are a part of the community we serve. We are here because we care about the people in this community.” Ms. Reyes said her roots are in West Dallas, where the center is now located at 3100 Crossman Ave. Her grandparents lived in a small house just a few blocks from the center when they first moved to the United States from Mexico. Her grandmother told Ms. Reyes she used to dream about the future but never thought she’d have a granddaughter who spoke English.

“I may not have grown up here, but I can identify with just about every person who comes through the center,” Ms. Reyes said.

According to Ms. Reyes, more than 300 people of all ages are served daily at the nonprofit center with GED and parenting classes, computer literacy, day-care and after-school programs for children, tutoring and mentoring for teens, and meals and sewing classes for senior citizens. web site cedar valley college

Last week, the center dished out more than 125 turkey dinners and passed out close to 100 food baskets in time for Thanksgiving. The center’s benefit last month to mark its centennial raised more than $100,000.

But beyond the services offered, the center is about families — often generations.

Jo Anne Flores was 3 when she attended Vacation Bible School at the center in 1953.

“All my uncles came to Wesley-Rankin,” she recalled. “I begged and begged until one of them brought me.” Ms. Flores still has the Bible school certificates behind her desk.

“After I finished high school, I came back to the center to fill in for my auntie who used to work here,” she said. “That was 29 years ago — and I’ve never left.” Ms. Flores lives down the street from the center with her grandmother, who visits daily.

“She loves to play bingo with the other seniors,” Ms. Flores said. “It’s important for her just to have some place to go each day, otherwise she’d probably just sit at home all day and stare at the walls.” Ms. Flores’ two sons are also regulars.

Her older son, Abel Zarate, 29, said the place has had a tremendous impact — not only on his family but also on the entire neighborhood.

“There used to be a lot of violence in this area,” he said. “I remember seeing a police shootout right by our house when I was little. Things have calmed down quite a lot. The police have cleaned up the area, but I think a lot of credit still goes to the center.” His brother, Andrew Zarate, is completing his GED at the center.

“It’s like a family here,” the 17-year-old said. “Everyone knows one another. It probably keeps me on my toes.” Rene Na[+ or -]ez said the Wesley-Rankin Community Center has been a part of her family’s life for the last 60 years.

“My mom, aunts and uncles went to kindergarten here and later Vacation Bible School and scouting,” she said. “I was probably no more than 2 years old when my mom brought me here for day care.” From day care to after-school tutoring and youth missions, Ms. Na[+ or -]ez has participated in almost every program.

“Once I was in college, Wesley-Rankin was there to help me again — this time with scholarship money. Every step I took in life, Wesley-Rankin was there for me.” Ms. Na[+ or -]ez is now an academic adviser at Cedar Valley College, and she said it is her turn to give back. The 24-year-old serves on the center’s board of directors and tutors students every Monday.

“I’m proud to have grown up in West Dallas,” Ms. Na[+ or -]ez said. “I know this is considered one of the city’s low-income neighborhoods. But to me, the greatest need here isn’t as much about income as it is opportunities. And this is where Wesley-Rankin comes in. This is a place where there is a lifetime of opportunities for generation after generation.”


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