Morris, Harold

Morris, Harold

Served as Fair President 1981

Harold C. Morris, 71, a builder-developer who served as mayor of Gaithersburg from 1967 to 1974, died of cancer Jan. 14 at his Gaithersburg home.

Mr. Morris was a co-founder of Heritage Builders Inc., which built more than 2,500 houses in Montgomery, Frederick and Washington counties, and a partner in Morris and Spencer, a development firm. Mr. Morris served on the city council before being appointed to complete the term of Mayor John W. Griffith, who died in office. He was later elected to the office, presiding over a period when the city annexed thousands of acres and created a parks and recreation department.

Since selling his interest in Heritage Builders in 1988, Mr. Morris had operated H.C.M. Investments Inc. and raised racehorses on his Gaithersburg farm.

Mr. Morris was born in Kirksey, Ky., and moved to Maryland in 1935. He was a graduate of Gaithersburg High School. He served in the Army in Hawaii and Saipan during World War II and Japan after the war.

He was an ironworker, carpenter, construction superintendent and electrician. In 1954, he began an excavation company and worked as a building and electrical inspector for Gaithersburg. He was appointed to the board of zoning appeals in 1958.

His honors included the Outstanding Citizen awards of the Gaithersburg Gazette and Gaithersburg and Upper Montgomery County Chamber of Commerce. He was named Citizen of the Year by the City of Gaithersburg last year, when a park was named in his honor.

Mr. Morris was a founder and chairman of Lincoln National Bank, president of the board of the Shady Grove Adventist Hospital Foundation and honorary life member of the administrative board of Epworth Methodist Church in Gaithersburg. He played in the semi-pro sandlot baseball league in Montgomery and Frederick counties.

He was president of the Montgomery chapter of the Maryland Municipal League, chairman of the Montgomery Soil Conservation District, vice president of the Maryland and Suburban Maryland Home Builders Associations, president of the Gaithersburg Lions Club, a director of the Upper Montgomery County YMCA and the Gaithersburg and Upper Montgomery Chamber of Commerce, building and grounds chairman of the Montgomery County Agricultural Center and a life member of the American Legion.

Survivors include his wife of 48 years, Jean Burdette Morris of Gaithersburg; three children, Michael B. Morris and J. Patrick Morris, both of Gaithersburg, and Michele J. Morris of Emmaus, Pa.; three brothers, J.D. Morris and Gene M. Morris, both of Gaithersburg, and Paul L. Morris of Rockville; and four grandchildren.

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