A Mass of Christian Burial was celebrated Oct. 14 in Assumption Parish, Wrightstown, for John J. Morris, a radio entrepreneur who is remembered by numerous diocesan staff as being a staunch supporter of the “Black Catholics, Yes!” program. He died Sept. 28 at the age of 91.
Raised in Torrington, Conn., Mr. Morris worked at a Connecticut radio station while still in high school, and in the control room of WNBC-NY before being drafted into the U.S. Army in 1954 and joining the Armed Forces Network (AFN) in Heidelberg, Germany.
In 1964, Mr. Morris returned home and joined WHWH 1350 AM in Princeton as a sales manager. He launched WPST 97.5 FM and developed it into Nassau Broadcasting Company, eventually becoming its president.
In 1993, Mr. Morris established Morris Broadcasting Company of New Jersey, Inc., and acquired the gospel station WIMG 1300 AM. He transformed it into a viable resource for the greater Trenton community through an urban gospel musical format, broadcasting spiritual ministries and local and national news and public affairs programming.
Mr. Morris served on the boards of numerous local civic and philanthropic organizations, including Catholic Charities Diocese of Trenton; Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital, Hamilton; Mercer County Chamber of Commerce, and the Hamilton YMCA.
He contributed to many community-based initiatives including the Mount Carmel Guild Family Food Fund, the Sons and Daughters of St. Patrick and the Metropolitan Trenton African American Chamber of Commerce. Mr. Morris was honored by several business and civic associations throughout central New Jersey, including the Mercer County Chamber of Commerce Citizen of the Year (1983), and the Trenton Kiwanis Man of the Year (1976).
Mr. Morris was predeceased by his wife of 52 years, Louise Easton Morris in 2006. He is survived by four children, Melissa Hemphill (Rodney) of Idaho; Matthew (Karen) of California; Maggie Guzzardo (Joe) and Michael (Kathleen), both of New Egypt; and four grandchildren. Interment was private.
Donations in his honor may be made to the Trenton Area Soup Kitchen, P.O. Box 872, Trenton, NJ 08605; or online at trentonsoupkitchen.org.