50 Years in Public Service: Events Highlight the Bill Morris Era



Morris week? Morris month? There’s no question that 82-year-old Bill Morris, a three-term Sheriff and four-term Mayor of Shelby County, is having a moment just now that is punctuation for a life well lived and worth remembering.

The subject of a recent Flyer cover story (“High Noon: Bill Morris and the Post-Assassination Handling of James Earl Ray,” April 9), Morris was the honoree at a Wednesday night gala, on April 15 at Graceland's Car Museum and Ticket Pavilion. The event, acknowledging Morris’ 50 years of public service was organized by Karl Schledwitz and Ben Bryant, and raised funds for the Church Health Center's Scholar Program.

That reception/dinner, which was attended by a Who’s Who list of influential political and civic personalities, was but the first of two events involving Morris and highlighting the theme of “Lessons in Leadership.” The second, sponsored by the Church Health Center, will be held from 5 to 7 p.m. Tuesday night, April 21, at the Tennessee Brewery, 495 Tennessee St.

Planned as a mix-and-mingle affair, the Tuesday night event will feature complimentary beverages and snacks, and a cash bar and food trucks.will also be available.

Morris and Church Health Center head Scott Morris, whose conversation on leadership, based on a video concerning the former Mayor’s life and times, was the culminating act of last week’s affair at Graceland, will do a reprise of sorts, and Morris and Antony Sheehan will also address the theme of “Collaboratin and Radical Community.”

Meanwhile, the Graceland reception/dinner is sure to be remembered for the unusually inclusive cast of characters in attendance. They included both Memphis Mayor A C Wharton and Shelby County Mayor Mark Luttrell and ran the gamut of current and former eminences from the lengthy era of Morris’ involvement with public service.


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