Morris Fair, a well-respected longtime member of the Shelby County Commission and a financial expert known for his private-sector innovations in the securities field, died Thursday at Baptist East Hospital of complications resulting from cancer.
Fair, who had served for the last year as a member of the state Lottery Board, had remained active despite a lengthy illness and had made an appearance before the Commission only last month to deliver a lengthy and typically detailed critique of a pending settlement with Clark Construction Co over issues relating to the new Convention Center.
Commissioner John Willingham, who was FairÕs victorious opponent in the 2002 election, had become a close friend of FairÕs and said, ÒIf I had known Morris as well then as I do now, I would never have run against him. He will be sorely missed. He was a good friend and a good soldier.Ó
Commissioner Marilyn Loeffel, chairman of the commission, said, "Former Commissioner Morris Fair was highly valued during his service on the Commission for his financial expertise and advice on these matters when they came before the Commission. However, for me personally, I will always remember him as a consummate gentleman in all dealings and for his deep unbounded love of his wife and family."
Shelby County Mayor A C Wharton said, "Morris Fair was one of the kindest and most courteous elected officials I've known. He always put me at ease. Most of all he was an outstanding leader, whose thoughtful approach to government helped to advance our community and he never let politics stop him from doing what was right. We all will miss his warmth and his wisdom."
A veteran of the Memphis business community since 1962, Fair was founder and CEO of UMIC Securities Corporation and served as community and government relations coortdinator for Union Planters Bank. Besides the state Lottery Board, he was a member of the Memphis and Shelby County Convention Center Board, a body which he had served as chairman from 1997 to last year.
Fair was a well-known rooter for the University of Arkansas Razorback athletic teams. He served as president of the universityÕs National Alumni Association in 1997-98
A native of Marion, Arkansas, Fair is survived by his wife Diane, four sons, and seven grandchildren.
Memorial Park Funeral Home at 5668 Poplar Avenue is handling arrangements. Visitation will be there from 5 to 7 p.m. on Friday, April 9th. Funeral will be at St. MaryÕs Episcopal Cathedral on Saturday at 1 p.m., and burial will be at Crittenden Memorial Park of Marion.