Ian and Gayle Moore-Morrans were a married couple, seniors and writers in Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada until Ian’s death in 2019. Gayle continues to edit and publish Ian’s writings as well as her own. They are pictured above with their then-13-year-old Shih-poo, Misty, after one of Gayle’s location writing sessions in an experimental forest above Vernon, British Columbia where they lived from May 2008 until May 2015. In June 2015 they spent three weeks in Flin Flon, Manitoba after moving out of their house in Vernon and traveling with Misty to Manitoba. There they visited Ian’s daughter Shirley, her husband Brien Lee and their extended family. They also oriented Misty to her new home with Shirley, Brien and their Boston Terrier Daisy. On June 19th Ian and Gayle moved into their present home at Fred Douglas Place in Winnipeg, Manitoba, a 55+ life-lease apartment house. They were happy to be back in Winnipeg near the rest of Ian’s family, but knew they would continue to miss having their little dog with them. The apartment house does not allow pets. Misty died in 2018, a year before Ian.
A Scottish-Canadian, former Royal Air Force bandsman/aircraft engine mechanic and retired machinist, Ian Moore-Morrans hailed from Campbeltown on the Kintyre peninsula, Argyll, Scotland. He lived in various places all over Canada after emigrating from Scotland in 1965 with his wife, Mary, and two daughters. Taking up writing at age 63, Ian first wrote a children’s story originally called “My Friend Jimmy.” That story went through many changes before final publication as Jake, Little Jimmy & Big Louie almost 20 years later. He first published a “how-to” e-book entitled “Metal Machining Made Easy” under his former name, Ian Morrans. Ian also began writing his memoirs at the same time and later added several novels and children’s stories, plus a tale of revenge to his repertoire. He was widowed in 2002.
Gayle Moore-Morrans is a retired magazine and program editor who, as 8-year-old Gayle Moore, wrote and illustrated her first “book.” This story told of a new puppy whose surprise birth to their dog, Lady, had delighted her and her two younger sisters when they were growing up in North Dakota. (She still has the original and only copy of that handmade “book.”) She has continued to write throughout life, both in her work capacity (as a Lutheran parish worker, a secretary, a social services director at a seniors’ centre and finally as a program director and editor) and in documenting personal and family happenings. Best of all, though, she likes to edit and enhance the writings of others. Gayle and her late husband, Gus Johannesson, both Americans, had lived in Germany for 18 years where they adopted their two children, Gwynne and Garen. In 1983 they returned to the States and then, nine months later, immigrated to Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada. Gus went onto disability retirement in 1992 as Gayle began working for Evangelical Lutheran Women of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Canada as a program and magazine editor.
Gayle was widowed in 1996 and, six years later, met newly-widowed Ian. At their initial meeting, they started a conversation about the eclectic assortment of stories Ian had begun writing after retirement. When Ian learned that Gayle was working as Editor of Esprit magazine, he began to envision a future of their living and working together. They were married three months later and combined their birth surnames to form the new family name, Moore-Morrans.
After Gayle took an early retirement in July 2004, they sold their house, bought a motor home and left Winnipeg to become snowbirds and explore retirement in Mexico. While basking in the lovely weather along Mexico’s Pacific coast, Gayle started editing Ian’s stories while he sat at the laptop on their RV’s patio and did re-writes and touch-ups. Tiring of RV living and the hot, humid Pacific coast, they moved inland to the mountainous north shore of Lake Chapala, Mexico’s largest lake. There they bought a house and became residents of the world’s largest community of English-speaking expatriates who live in a string of small towns referred to as “Lakeside.” They joined the Lake Chapala Society Writer’s Group and met some wonderful writers from Canada, the USA, Mexico and Europe. Soon Ian’s short story, “The Moonlit Meeting,” was published in a local magazine, El Ojo el Lago, and Gayle’s account, “Roca Azul RVers Celebrate Scotland’s Robert Burns” was published in a local e-zine, Mexico Insights. During this time they also jointly wrote an account of their Mexican adventures and misadventures which they hope to eventually publish (or at least blog) under the title, Mexican Follies. Gayle chose the name as a play on words. The word “folly” can be used to refer to a foolish action or a foolish but expensive undertaking. The more obscure use of the term could even have meant an action that had the danger of ending in disaster. In contrast, the plural form “follies” is often used in a lighter, more enjoyable and entertaining way as part of the title for a revue, a type of musical show parodying topical matters by using songs, skits and dances. They view their time in Mexico as both a folly and a follies.
Though the pair returned to Manitoba annually, they maintained a home in Mexico for another two years. Returning to Canada full-time (but to British Columbia instead of Manitoba) in 2007, they spent a year in Penticton and then moved to Vernon. They loved living in the beautiful Okanagan Valley and found it perfectly suited their life-style. In 2010 they published Ian’s first novel, Beyond the Phantom Battle: Mystery at Loch Ashie and in 2012, the first volume of Ian’s memoirs, From Poverty to Poverty: A Scotsman Encounters Canada. In January 2015, Ian’s children’s chapter book, Jake, Little Jimmy & Big Louie, was published under their newly formed Moomor Publishing, with Gayle listed as co-author, editor and publisher.
Despite some serious health challenges since 2008, they hoped to publish more of Ian’s stories in the future including sequels to the novel and to the autobiography, as well as a story of revenge called “Legal Hit Man” and a number of other children’s stories. (Yes, it is an eclectic assortment!) Sometime in 2013 Gayle began to collaborate on Ian’s writings as he became more and more disabled. In the future she will be listed as co-author or his handle will include her by-line, i.e., “Ian Moore-Morrans with Gayle Moore-Morrans.” Gayle also has begun to reprint some of her stories, articles, editorials and spiritual programs on this website blog.
Besides writing and editing, Ian and Gayle enjoyed singing Scottish songs together. Ian had performed as a Scottish singer for many years. In Mexico they began singing and performing together. During their years in BC, they performed as “Okanagan’s Mr. Scotland and His Bonnie Lassie”, although serious health concerns limited their performances their last three years in BC. They still loved to sing together at home, especially with the CD of Scottish music Ian had recorded while they lived in Mexico.