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Alan H. Morrison

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BENNINGTON -- Alan H. Morrison, 63, a resident of Key West, Fla., formerly of Bennington, died Wednesday, May 12, 2004 in Bennington.

Born in Sherbrooke, Quebec, Canada on April 8, 1941, he was the son of the late W. Adair and Mary (Manson) Morrison. The family moved to the United States in 1952 when his father came to work as director of research at Sprague Electric in North Adams, Mass. Alan attended school in Williamstown.

Alan Morrison was a leading businessman in the Bennington area and in Key West and Jacksonville, Fla. His first job in the automobile business was as “lube man” and car washer at 19 years old. By 1962 he was the manager of Ace Auto Sales in Williamstown and in 1964 he was vice president of Berkshire Sport Cars Inc.

Alan then founded Bennington Ford in 1968 in a joint venture, and by 1970 became the sole owner. Scot Sport Motors soon followed in 1972 and Morrison Sales & Service in 1982. The construction of the Morrison Sales & Service facility on Kocher Drive in Bennington was completed in 1985 and is a state of the art facility. Other business ventures in the area included Berkshire Chrysler Plymouth Dodge in North Adams, Mass., Gareth Bus Lines, Kelley Chrysler Plymouth in Springfield and Calgary Motors in North Adams, Mass.

In 1991, business opportunities were presented and car dealerships were purchased and actively operated in Key West, Fla. and then in 1999 in Jacksonville, Fla. An additional joint venture, Moore Mazda and Suzuki was in Gainesville, Fla.

As an active community member in Bennington, Mr. Morrison supported many agencies and activities. He served on the Bennington Rescue Squad Fund Raising Committee from 1976 to 1990 and was chairman from 1981 to 1984, he was president of the Bennington YMCA from 1972 to 1992, he founded the Bennington County Crimestoppers in 1982 and served until 1986, he was a member of the Bennington County Industrial Corp. from 1983 to 1989, the Bennington Zoning Board from 1972 to 1974 and the Mount Anthony School Board from 1976-1978.

Alan was a member of the Bennington Rotary Club since 1971 and was actively involved in the fund-raising for the rescue squad building. He also served on the board of Southern Vermont College from 1984 to 2002 during a period focusing on the growth of the college and development of the campus facilities.

During these years in the automobile industry, Alan Morrison was recognized on many occasions for both his business success as well as his community involvement. Recognition included Time Magazine Quality Dealer Award in 1987, Bennington Chamber of Commerce President’s Award in 1985, Bennington Museum General Stark Award, Award of Appreciation to Alan Morrison from the Bennington Museum in 1986 for recovery of the museum’s treasures, and 2003 Award of Appreciation for Founding Fundraising Efforts from the The Bennington Rescue Squad. Mr. Morrison was appointed by Gov. Snelling to the position of state racing commissioner. He served from 1977 to 1985 and was awarded honorary life membership in 1986 to the National Association of State Racing Commissioners.

He is survived by his wife, Alenda Canedy Morrison, whom he married on Jan. 27, 1979; his children, Cindy Morrison of Manchester, Scot Morrison of Orlando, Fla., Charles Morrison of Washington, D.C., Allison MacKenzie and her husband Lance of Georgia; three grandchildren, Alexandra Morrison, Isabella MacKenzie and Lucas MacKenzie; a brother, George of Dallas, Texas, a sister, Margaret Boyer of Bell Brook, Ohio, a sister, Nancy Izawa of Molokai, Hawaii; a sister, Elisabeth Morrison of Ottawa, Canada; and nieces, nephews and cousins. Alan was predeceased by a son, Gareth.

Funeral services celebrating the life of Alan H. Morrison will be held Monday, May 17, 2004 at 10 a.m. at St. Peters Episcopal Church in Bennington where the burial office will be offered by the Rev. Canon Robert Miner, interim pastor.

Friends may call at the Mahar & Son Funeral Home Saturday from 4 to 7 p.m. and Sunday from 2 to 5 p.m. when the family will be in attendance.

Burial will take place in the family lot in Park Lawn Cemetery.

In lieu of flowers, Mr. Morrison wished that any donations be made to the Bennington or Pownal Rescue Squads, either through the Mahar & Son Funeral Home, 628 Main St., Bennington, VT 05201 or directly to the Bennington Rescue Squad, 120 McKinley St., Bennington, VT 05201 or the Pownal Rescue Squad, Pownal, VT 05261.

In addition, Mr. Morrison often noted to his family and friends that the lung cancer he battled was a consequence of smoking. He asked that even now, this fact be remembered in the hope that it might serve as encouragement for many to stop smoking.
Published in Bennington Banner on May 13, 2004
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