Former city of Katy Mayor John Morrison passed away Wednesday, Aug. 7. Morrison had served on the council from 1978-79 and became mayor in 1979, serving in that position until 1983 according to a …
Editor's Note: This article has been updated throughout.
Former city of Katy Mayor John Morrison passed away Wednesday, Aug. 7. John had served on the council from 1978-79 and became mayor in 1979, serving in that position until 1983 according to a city of Katy Facebook announcement. He was born May 10, 1925 and was 95 years old when he died peacefully in his home near Chireno, Tex.
“He was an essential part of building the foundation upon which this city stands and he will always hold a historic place in the Katy community,” the city’s announcement on Facebook said.
John served as part of the original charter commission and was involved in Katy obtaining its home rule charter in 1981, bringing him the nickname of “Charter Mayor.”
Morrison is preceded in death by his parents and his first wife, Bobbie Morrison.
While many Katy residents may remember him for his service to the city, his wife Emily Morrison remembers him as her husband who loved music and traveling.
The pair had met when their paths crossed in New Mexico as she was visiting a friend and he was at a Rotary International event. Ordinarily, they only lived about 70 miles apart in Texas and their meeting was happenstance, Emily said. They had both lost their first spouses to cancer and connected through mutual experiences.
“We decided we wanted to make a new chapter in our lives and spend the rest of our lives together, and we did,” Emily said.
John and Emily were married in 2007, she said.
Emily said many Katy area residents would have known John from his time running BG’s Fried Chicken where Snappy’s Café & Grill is located now. The business’ name came from Bobbie’s first name and John’s middle name, George, which is what he had been known as up until he joined the Army Air Corps just three days after graduating high school and the military’s culture changed that.
John served in the military from 1943 to 1946, Emily said. He was also a realtor and entrepreneur with multiple businesses.
John did a lot for the city, according to those that knew him, but Emily said it was the charter he was most pleased with. Emily said he’d considered staying in politics but chose to put his family ahead of political aspirations. In recent years, he and Emily travelled together and had taken to singing to entertain residents at retirement homes, she added.
“Every day he got up singing,” Emily said. “At 95 his voice was still really good.”
His granddaughter, Jennifer Adams of Katy, said John was also an avid gardener and that gardening with her grandfather was one of her fondest memories. She also said the fireworks shows in Katy were a part of her grandfather’s legacy to the community.
“He got the fireworks in Katy really going. The really big ones. He was the starter of that,” Adams said.
In a joint announcement honoring John G. Morrison Day on Aug. 8, Katy’s living former mayors explained how important John’s work for the city was and expressed their respects for him as a leader in the Katy community.
Mayor Bill Hastings said he has known Morrison for more than 40 years before either of them had decided to enter local politics, and that he felt Morrison was a good friend and a fine man that he was grateful to spend time with.
“John loved Katy and was proud to be a part of everything ‘Katy,’” Hastings said. “John loved the Former Mayors Luncheons and was able to attend as recently as the fall of 2019. He will be greatly missed.”
Former mayor Hank Schmidt, who served in that office from 1995 to 2001 said Morrison loved the city and worked hard to give back to the city and make Katy a better place.
Doyle Calendar, who succeeded Schmidt from 2001 to 2007 as mayor said, “(Morrison) did a great job for our citizens and was a leader in our community with a smile always on his face and a song in his heart.”
Fabol Hughes, who served as mayor from 2013 to 2017, said Morrison was a good man whom he had known since he operated BG’s Fried Chicken. Hughes and Morrison had both attended church at Katy First Methodist where Morrison was involved in nearly every aspect of the church, especially when music was involved.
“Everything he did was with love and he took great pleasure in serving others,” Hughes said. “He was not one to let the grass grow under his feet.”
Chuck Brawner, who followed Hughes’ time in office until 2019 said Morrison did a great job as mayor with a good vision for the charter which set the foundational document up well for the city.
“The city of Katy thrived under John’s leadership and the inception of the Home Rule Charter opened the door for future economic development,” said Skip Conner, who served as mayor from 1991-95. “John was a great man and a great leader.”
A private graveside service honoring John was held at Odd Fellows Cemetery in Carthage, Texas.