|Birth: ||Mar. 9, 1921|
|Death: ||Jan. 8, 2006|
A native of Nashville, Mr. Morris broke into broadcasting in Asheboro, N.C., in 1947, following service in the United States Army in World War II. He came to Chattanooga in 1950, working first at WAGC Radio. He soon became one of the most recognizable voices in local radio, hosting a live program, “Laugh and Live,” for WDOD and later broadcasting live from the coffee shop of the Read House for WAPO. He later served as general manager of WRIP.
Mr. Morris was also a pioneer in television, joining WRGP-TV in 1956. At Channel 3, he served as news anchor and also hosted a popular mid-day program, “Bulletin,” where he was the first local broadcaster to break the news of President Kennedy’s assassination on November 22, 1963. He hosted the early-morning “Roy Morris Show,” as well as a late-night program on Saturday nights.
Mr. Morris owned and operated WZYX in Cowan, TN, from 1959 through 1961, along with his partner Bill Claiborne. He returned to Chattanooga in 1961 to work at WOGA Radio.
After leaving Chattanooga in 1973 to serve as general manager at WWOD Radio in Lynchburg, VA, Mr. Morris managed radio and television stations in Greenwood, MS, and Charlotte, N.C., before returning to Chattanooga in 1977 to manage WDOD.
He subsequently moved to Boston, MA, to oversee a number of radio stations from Vermont to California for Listeners Network, before returning to Chattanooga for good in 1988. He continued broadcasting into his 80s, hosting a Saturday-morning show on WDOD.
Besides his work in broadcasting, Mr. Morris was an award-winning actor, director and board member at the Chattanooga Little Theater. He also operated the Olde West Dinner Theater in Brainerd in the mid-1960s.
Mr. Morris was a long-time master of ceremonies at the Cotton Ball and at local and state Junior Miss pageants. He also hosted several March of Dimes Teleramas on WRCB-TV. In addition, he was a charter member of the 365 Club and the Forgotten Child Fund.
Mr. Morris was born in Nashville on March 9, 1921, the son of George and Amanda Hartman Morris. During World War II, he served in Europe as an infantryman with the 79th (Cross of Lorraine) Division. He was wounded twice, but his Purple Heart citation was lost during the confused fighting at the Battle of the Bulge. Third District Congressman Zach Wamp helped Mr. Morris finally secure his Purple Heart in 2003. While convalescing, Mr. Morris began his performing career in Army hospitals in England and France, putting together a variety act with other GIs called “Ham, Spam and Jam.”
Mr. Morris married Margaret Brew Coode of Nashville in 1941. The couple was married for 57 years before Mrs. Morris passed away in 1999.
Mr. Morris is survived by his daughter and son-in-law, Patricia and Carl Treppard; son and daughter-in-law, Roy and Leslie Morris Jr.; son, Tony Morris, all of Chattanooga; daughter and son-in-law, Mary Lou and Sam Jackson of Tampa, FL; five grandchildren and seven great-grandchildren.
Graveside services will be held Wednesday at 11:30 a.m. at National Cemetery with the Rev. Eugene Coleman officiating.
Margaret Brew Coode Morris (1922 - 1999)*
Chattanooga National Cemetery
Created by: Dean Wilson
Record added: Jan 11, 2006
Find A Grave Memorial# 12953660