|
|
|
The Daily Register - Harrisburg, IL
  • Commissioner Jim Morris kept city in the black

  • Eldorado has lost a friend and community leader. Water and Finance Commissioner Jim Morris died Sunday after a year-long battle with lung cancer. He is remembered by those who served the city with him as a man who got the job done.
    • email print
      Comment
  • Eldorado has lost a friend and community leader.
    Water and Finance Commissioner Jim Morris died Sunday after a year-long battle with lung cancer. He is remembered by those who served the city with him as a man who got the job done.
    City Clerk Stacy James worked with Morris since the early 1980s. She believed the year was 1981 when Morris came to Eldorado. He worked at Great Scot in Evansville, Ind., and took a position at Scot Lad foods in Eldorado as a buyer and later became head merchandiser. He drove between Evansville and Eldorado before moving his family to Eldorado.
    Morris’ wife, Barbara, died at age 45 in the late 1990s. Scot Lad became Roundy’s and closed in 2004. Morris retired, but wasn’t done working. He took a part-time job as a rural mail carrier for the U.S. Postal Service in Carmi until an injury from a fall in August of 2013.
    “I’d never heard of anybody falling and breaking his hip and finishing his route before he quit,” James said.
    Morris’ mail would be delivered, fractured bones or no. It was during his treatment for that injury that doctors determined Morris had lung cancer.
    His dedication to the city took a similar course. Morris was home and in hospice care, but that did not stop him from participating in council meetings. During the July 8 meeting council adopted an ordinance allowing commissioners to participate electronically. On July 8 and July 22 Morris voted through speaker phone and continued his regular mantra of asking department heads to continue to monitor their expenses carefully.
    “Probably Thursday night he said he wouldn’t be able to make the meeting next week,” James said.
    Morris was known as a master at finance, whether working in the food distribution business or in city business.
    “He was excellent with finances. He could figure it in his head quicker than most of us could figure it on paper or with a calculator,” James said.
    Morris closely monitored finances, but was not stingy. He wanted the departments to have the tools they needed to do their jobs efficiently.
    Mayor Rocky James appointed Morris to his seat on the board about six years ago upon a commissioner leaving council.
    “Jim was always great in our community. He was always involved in our sporting events. I never heard him say a bad word about anybody as long as I knew him,” Mayor James said.
    He was also constantly impressed by both Morris’ budgeting talents and his help in contract negotiations. James and Commissioner Robby Price had been union representatives. Morris came from management. With their combined experience they were able to negotiate acceptable contracts with city workers without costly legal expenses, Mayor James said.
    Page 2 of 2 - “We’re in the black. You can give credit to Jim Morris for that. He made it easy,” Mayor James said.
    “I know he was good to have in our community, good at budgeting, a great, great all around person.”
    Fire Chief Mike McKinnies said he and Morris became close after Morris’ diagnosis of lung cancer. McKinnies’ wife, Linda, died in June of 2012 from complications of lung cancer. Linda’s prognosis was six to nine months, but she died about two months after her diagnosis.
    “We talked about it. It affects different people in different ways,” McKinnies said.
    McKinnies shared with Morris some tips he learned from helping his wife during her battle.
    “I told him ‘Just watch yourself when you take your treatments,’” McKinnies said.
    McKinnies said he also appreciated Morris’ sharp eye on department budgets.
    “He was always the one who made it fit,” McKinnies said.
    City Treasurer Pandy Minor said she enjoyed the time she spent with Morris.
    “He was just a pleasure to work with and for and I respected him a great deal,” Minor said.
    Morris is survived by his three children, Mary Morris of Harrisburg, Sarah Morris in Evansville and James Morris in Arizona.
    Funeral services will be 7 p.m. Thursday, Aug. 7, 2014, at the First Christian Church in Eldorado. Visitation will be held 4 p.m. to 7 p.m. Thursday at the church.

        calendar