John Carroll Morrissey
September 2, 1914 - April 24, 2021
John Carroll Morrissey, son of the late Estelle (Caine) and Edward J. Morrissey, was born in New York City and raised in Larchmont and New Haven. Educated at Horace Mann and Taft, he earned his BA (Phi Beta Kappa) and LLB at Yale, and his doctoral degree (JSD) at New York University, practicing law in New York City, Washington, DC, and California. A man of exceptional determination, faith, and intellectual curiosity, he embraced and lived an extraordinarily rich and long life.
His early NYC legal career was interrupted by World War II. First as a field artillery lieutenant, then as an intelligence and operations officer, he served in the US Army, including assignments at the Office of the Army Chief of Staff in DC and on General Dwight Eisenhower's staff in Europe. During the Occupation of Germany, he served as a Military Government Judge in Frankfurt-am-Main. (He remained a member of the Army reserves until 1974, when retired as a Colonel.)
Following WWII, he returned to NYC to resume his law practice and there met Eileen Colligan, also a lawyer. They married in 1950 and moved to Washington, DC, in 1951, where he joined the Department of Defense as a civilian lawyer and began his engagement in post-war energy development, liaising with the Atomic Energy Commission and acting as general counsel of the Defense Electric Power Administration. At the conclusion of his government service, he and Eileen moved to San Francisco where he joined the Pacific Gas & Electric Company and they raised a family of eight children. Through his career as an attorney for PG&E (1953-79, ending as VP and General Counsel), he handled its rate cases and the permit proceedings to construct and to operate the Diablo Canyon nuclear power plant.
His compassionate commitment to justice and fairness was reflected in his active participation in and leadership of key civic organizations, notably the Human Rights Commission of San Francisco, Legal Aid Society, the Archdiocesan legal advisory committee, and the Golden Gate District Boy Scouts of America.
With a 6'2" frame and erect bearing, he could seem imposing and intimidating, yet his family and friends knew his playful and funny side. From exuberant celebrations of any occasion—even afternoon tea— to his joyful singing of oft-unsung song verses, to his active physical exercising, he shared his excitement with us all. A man of letters, he passed on his love of learning to his children and grandchildren. Even when a seemingly quiet observer, he nevertheless invariably asked the most pertinent and insightful questions at any gathering. He thrived in the fellowship of the Serra, Commonwealth, Sometimes Tuesday, Yale, and Pacific Union clubs, and in his enthusiastic involvement in his children's many activities (at times to their dismay!)
He forged an indelible, sustaining and loving bond with Eileen over their 66 years of devoted marriage. Predeceased by his wife, he is survived by his children, Jay Edward (Marilyn McFarland), Ellen Jenkins (James), Katherine (Kim Lowry), John (Colleen Shea), Patricia, Richard (Anne Ballinger), Brian, and Peter (Anne Heller) Morrissey; and nine grandchildren.
A visitation and rosary will be on Thurs, April 29, 4-8pm, Duggan's Serra Mortuary, 500 Westlake Ave., Daly City, and a funeral mass on Fri, April 30 at 11am, St. Ignatius Church, 650 Parker Ave., San Francisco. Private Internment. Donations, in lieu of flowers, to the Serra Club and Holy Family Day Home.
Published by San Francisco Chronicle from Apr. 26 to Apr. 30, 2021.