John H. "Jack" Morris III
John H. "Jack" Morris III, died Friday, January 12, 2018, two days after his 87th birthday. Although he had developed health problems natural for his age, his death was sudden. On Thursday he was at work, in his office at Jack Morris Auto Glass, where he had been most every business day since 1955.
He is survived by his wife of 62 years, Jane; two sisters, Ann Heffernan and Carole Bizot; four children, John (Laura), LuAnne Burkett (Wayne), Linda, Paul (Mary); eight grandchildren, Jeff Burkett (Taryn), Ryan Burkett, Sarah Morris, Buck Morris, Bailey Morton, Sydney Morton, Courtland Morris, and Alison Morris; and two great-grandchildren. He also leaves many other beloved relatives, coworkers, and friends.
He was born in Memphis during the Great Depression to parents John and Mary Kirk Morris. His father died when he was ten years old, and he began working at an early age to help support his family. He graduated from Memphis Technical High School and attended Memphis State before joining the Air National Guard during the Korean War.
He met Jane on a blind date while they were both in high school, she at Central. They married on March 4, 1955, as the first couple to wed at Colonial Park Methodist Church. They soon joined Christ United Methodist Church, where Jack was heavily involved in leadership for decades.
Jack worked as a zone manager for International Harvester before joining Jane's stepfather in the auto glass business. Jack quickly grew the business, later becoming its sole owner and renaming it Jack Morris Auto Glass. Jack was well known nationally in the glass industry, having served as the president of the National Glass Association, and he received many offers to grow the business nationally. But Jack always wanted to stay close to Memphis, the city he loved.
Jack's favorite hobby was serving Memphis as a civic leader. At various times he was the chairman of: the Memphis Jaycees; Memphis Light, Gas and Water; Memphis Chamber of Commerce; Mid-South Fair; Lambuth College; and the Regional Medical Center, the Med. He also served as a board member of Methodist Le Bonheur Healthcare, the 911 board, Memphis Airport Commission, and MS Carriers. He was named Outstanding Jaycee of the Year, Outstanding Kiwanian of the Year, and Chief Goodfellow. Jack received the Lambuth College Presidential Award, an honorary doctor of laws degree, and the Methodist Healthcare Foundation Life Inspiration Award.
Jack was active in politics. He was elected to represent Memphis in the Tennessee House of Representatives in 1962. He managed Buford Ellington's successful West Tennessee campaign for governor in 1966. In 1968, Jack and Jane represented Tennessee at the Democratic National Convention in Chicago. He served on the Shelby County Election Commission from 1969-1974 and was appointed by Governor Lamar Alexander to the Southern Growth Policies Board in 1979.
Jack spearheaded the group that started Libertyland in 1977. He was instrumental in the effort to build the new home for the University of Memphis Loewenberg School of Nursing. And he helped support the construction of Methodist Healthcare's Hospice Residence. He helped save the Med from near collapse, guiding the organization through a leadership transition, and he helped sustain his church during challenging times.
In a 2014 book about Jack, entitled "A Heart for Memphis," author David Yawn observes, "Jack's life is a model for those wanting to grow a successful service business, those wanting to make a difference in their community, those wanting to be surrounded by a large and loving family and church community, or those simply wanting to live a happy, fulfilling, and complete life."
Visitation will be on Tuesday from 5-7pm at Christ United Methodist Church. A memorial service followed by a reception will be on Wednesday beginning at 2pm at Christ United Methodist Church.
Donations may be made to Christ United Methodist Church, Church Health, MIFA, or the Memphis charity of donor's choosing.