Tony Morrison was the youngest child and fifth son of John Andrew Morrison I and Grace Jory Morrison.
Tony was born March 4, 1909, in Hood County, Texas. He grew up working on his father’s farm and attended the Tolar High School, four miles away, graduating in 1927. His grades were good, but he excelled in History. He enrolled in John Tarleton Agricultural College in Stephenville, Texas, in the fall of 1927 and graduated with an Associate’s Degree in Agriculture in 1929. He was the first in his family to obtain any kind of college degree.
Graduating into the Great Depression, he did a variety of things between 1929 and 1935 in an attempt to get a start in life. He worked on his father’s farm, taught school, spent two seasons working on a Kansas wheat farm, and worked as a refinery pipeliner and a dairy hand. In 1931, he married Grace Iowa Long, his sweetheart since childhood. They lived for a while with his parents. In 1933, they obtained a dual teaching assignment in an eight grades local school, she teaching the first four grades and he the fifth through the eighth. Tony continued teaching during the 1934-1935 school year, while Grace was pregnant with their first – and only – child.
When the 1935 school year was completed, Tony, Grace, and the boy, who was then six months old, piled their few possessions into an A Model Ford and moved to Beaumont, where Tony’s oldest living brother, Frank, was starting a wholesale grocery company. Tony worked as the lone warehouseman, deliveryman, and salesman during the beginning years of the company. As it grew, he became a full time salesman. While not a natural, his friendly interest in almost everyone and everything made him a successful salesman.
Starting with few assets, Tony and Grace rented a small apartment, then a duplex, and by 1940, a house, where they lived until 1949. They bought a lot in 1947, bought a house and moved it to the lot, then renovated it. Since their rental house was rent controlled at $20/month, they rented their new home for $75/month, applying the difference to pay off the loans they owed to his mother and sister-in-law. In 1949, they moved to the house and had paid the property off before Tony died.
Tony was a good man and a good father. He spent many hours with his only son, threw him passes, flew kites with him, hit fly balls and played catch, and attended baseball and football games with him. Tony was an avid domino player and taught his son to count and add sums at the domino table.
The only child was named for Tony’s father:
- John Andrew Morrison II
Tony yearned to return to his original home, and visited there as often as possible; Grace and John along with him, happy to be with their many relatives who lived in that area, southwest of Fort Worth.
Tony died of a heart attack on August 29, 1961, at the age of 52. His funeral in Beaumont, Texas, and the graveside service at Tolar, Texas, were attended by his many business associates and friends in both places. He and Grace are buried at the Tolar Cemetery.
Grace lived on for 32 years after Tony died. She passed away on August 24, 1993, in Granbury, Texas.