John Morris OAM was widely known and honoured for his unwavering community support - but few would know the untold story about the ALP and Maitland Repertory stalwart. It's only fitting the tale of this accidental hero is told on the eve of his final farewell following his unexpected death on Monday from pneumonia. Known for his boots and all attitude, Mr Morris' untold story should not surprise those who knew him. While teaching at Dungog High School, Mr Morris opted to take "the back way" home which involved a level railway crossing not far from the rural town. He approached the crossing in his Ford Falcon only to find a man and his wife seated in their ute stuck on the crossing, unable to move. "Dad tried to lift the car a little to get it unstuck but he was unable to," said daughter Louise Tillman. "He then heard a train coming but the driver of the ute would not get out of the vehicle. Dad grabbed his wife and got her to safety then ran to the boot of his car and found the red material he used to tie around pieces of timber he'd carry in the car. "He ran along the railway tracks waving the red material to alert the train driver there was a problem. The train stopped and passengers got off and helped lift the car off the tracks," Louise said. "The story made the front pages but dad's name was never mentioned." If you like this story, subscribe to The Maitland Mercury to see more like it - sign up here. Mr Morris was born and bred in Maitland and attended Horseshoe Bend School and Maitland Boys High School. He taught at Wallsend, Dungog, Francis Greenway and Maitland Girls high schools. Mr Morris was a founding member of Maitland Repertory, was a member of the Australian Labor Party, NSW Teachers' Federation and the Maitland Republican Group. He was also Maitland Citizen of the Year in 1997. "Dad would always stand up for what he believed in - he wouldn't just sit there and say that would be a great thing - he'd actually do something about it," Louise said. "One of his pet hates was bad grammar - in fact he had a box at home marked bad grammar with letters and documents in it and the grammatical mistakes circled. This troubled me going shopping with him because if he saw a sign with the wrong use of an apostrophe or wrong spelling he'd take it to the counter and ask for it to be changed, or if it was on a blackboard he'd rub it out and change it himself." Mr Morris is survived by his wife of almost 70 years, Dorothy, Louise, his son Stuart and his three grandchildren. His funeral will be held on Friday at 10am and is by invitation only but will be live streamed - the link can be found on Louise's Facebook page. Do you know you can subscribe to get full access to all Maitland Mercury stories? Subscribing supports us in our local news coverage. To subscribe, click here.