Jeff Morrin (1958 - 2013)

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(News Article) Jeff Morrin, a concrete worker who became a leading developer of shopping center properties in the greater Toledo area, died Tuesday in his Monclova Township home. He was 54.

He learned he had cancer in July, 2012, and was working until two weeks ago, his wife, Alissa, said.

"He was a fighter," she said. "He believed in hard work."

He was the owner of J.A. Morrin Construction, which he started in the mid-1980s as a concrete construction company - the business his father was in. About five years later, he announced plans to build and operate a shopping strip as a real estate investment. People questioned his sanity, he told The Blade in 1999.

"But I just kept thinking, 'I can do this,' " Mr. Morrin said then. He built and successfully leased scores of properties.

Bruce Schoenberger, his attorney, said he was "a real estate genius."

"He understood from the ground up cost, cost to finish, what the tenant needed, how to develop location. He would think it through, and he would do it on his feet," said Mr. Schoenberger, a managing partner of the law firm, Gressley, Kaplin & Parker.

"He probably developed the expertise of four lawyers in my firm, and I hire people who I think can handle the sophisticated work our firm does."

He calculated several steps, and several years, beyond the deal at hand. Building cost is the same, wherever the building is put, Mr. Morrin told The Blade in 1999.

"The real true value of a building is not the location, but the income," Mr. Morrin said. "In the back of your mind, you're always thinking, 'If this space went vacant, would I be able to lease it?' "

Mr. Schoenberger said: "This man was humble. He was sweet. He treated everybody the same way, everybody with respect. Everybody was above him. I've never met anybody like him in my life [and] I have hundreds of clients."

Mr. Morrin still liked to get on a bulldozer at a construction site.

"He enjoyed building buildings and giving people jobs," his wife said.

He was born Dec. 7, 1958, to Mary and James "Moe" Morrin. He was a graduate of Rogers High School.

He worked for his father at Superior Concrete Construction as a heavy equipment operator until he set off on his own, according to the J.A. Morrin firm's Web site.

"He was just that guy. He was a go-getter," his wife said.

Mr. Morrin was a supporter of the YMCA and a youth sports coach, first for his oldest son, Joshua, and most recently for son Nathan, 8.

"He coached our little boy, through chemo, in basketball and football and baseball," his wife said.

He was formerly married to Lesa Morrin.

Surviving are his wife, Alissa Morrin, whom he married Sept. 25, 2004; daughters, Mary and Sophie Morrin; sons, Joshua and Nathan Morrin; brothers, James, Jr., and Jerry Morrin, and stepmother, Sharon Morrin.

Visitation is 2-8 p.m. Sunday in Coyle Funeral Home, where services will be at 11 a.m. Monday.

The family suggests tributes to Pancreatic Cancer Action Network or Hospice of Northwest Ohio.

Contact Mark Zaborney at: mzaborney@theblade.com or 419-724-6182.
Published in Toledo Blade on Nov. 9, 2013
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