Valley Lives - Roy Morrison
The following article first appeared in "The Low Down to Hull and Back News" in the June 08, 2005 issue. Reprinted with permission.
Elder statesman of local auto business worked right to end
by Mike Caesar
The man known as the elder statesman of the automobile business in West Quebec has passed away aged 86.
Roy Morrison first got involved with Hamilton's GMC dealership in Wakefield in 1941, selling mainly International Trucks and farm machinery. It was the place where he met his late wife Maisie Hamilton and where he would go on to achieve the rare distinction of being a GM dealer for more than 50 years.
According to Morrison's sons Doug (owner of Farm Point's Morrison Fuels, which he established in partnership with his dad) and Richard (who now runs Hamilton's), the elder Morrison never really quit.
"He retired nine days ago," said Doug Morrison, referring to the day his father went into hospital.
That's in keeping with a lifelong work ethic in which the Farm Point native dedicated himself to family, community and customers. Until he suffered a broken hip several years ago, Richard Morrison said his father would come along into work with him at 7:00 a.m, and stay to the end of day, while Doug remembered his father offering to fill in and man the phones when Morrison's was a little shortstaffed.
Both agreed on the ability of their father and his brothers to fix just about anything.
"There wasn't anything they touched they couldn't fix," Richard said, "There was nobody better."
Besides running the dealership, Morrison was a founding member of the Wakefield volunteer fire department and also a key player in the building of the former Wakefield ice rink, located on land behind Hamilton's.
A man of habit, Morrison was famous for never missing a Sunday breakfast at the Alpengruss, where a table was always set aside. During his stint in hospital in 2003, Alpengruss staff delivered Sunday breakfast to his hospital bed.
For his part, Morrison showed equal dedication to the community, particularly to the Gatineau Memorial Hospital Centre. Besides having serviced Dr. Harold Geggie's snowmobiles (used for winter house calls) in his day, Morrison had a generator installed to run the gas pumps at the dealership after the hospital brought one in.
"His whole reason for buying it was he wanted to make sure the hospital could get gas in the event of a power outage, which were common in those days," Richard Morrison said.
Highest of all on the elder Morrison's list was his family, a fact backed up by the weekly Sunday dinners (always with carrots, potatoes and lemon and chocolate pie) he hosted for 16 family members at his Wakefield home. Daughters-in-law Mary and Linda Morrison both agree they were treated like family from the start, and Linda (who also worked at Hamilton's) said he even made a good boss.
"He was very good to all of us," Linda Morrison said.
Besides his sons and daughters, Roy Morrison is survived by six grandchildren and four great-grandchildren.
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