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Old Chester, PA: Obituaries:
Leedom "Lee" B. Morrison

Leedom "Lee" B. Morrison; Photo courtesy of Harvey S. Martin

Leedom "Lee" B. Morrison
Photo courtesy of
Harvey S. Martin,

A compilation of obituaries from the Media Library and Mr. Morrison's obituary from the Philadelphia Daily News, courtesy of Harvey S. Martin, hsmartin@snip.net 

Leedom "Lee" B. Morrison
Chester City Planner

Leedom B. “Lee“ Morrison, of Haverford Township, a Chester City Planner who remained optimistic about the resurgence of the city throughout most of his life, died Nov. 26, 1996 at his home.

Planning Director of Chester from October 1969 until his resignation in January 1990, Mr. Morrison battled the decline of the city for 20 years.

Despite the decline, Mr. Morrison never lost faith that the city could be revived. "I still think the city has a great future,” he told an interviewer after his resignation. “I hope to look back in 10 to 15 years and say, “I was part of it.."

Morrison had great affection for the city which he remembered as a booming industrial center in the ‘40s and ‘50s, with stores and restaurants that drew people from all over the county.

Using federal urban renewal money and his own powers of persuasion, Mr. Morrison helped shepherd through a number of projects for the city, including Chester Towers, a high-rise development for the elderly; a spruced-up section of shops called the Chester Greenway; Stinson Towers, one of the country's first buildings constructed and specially equipped for the blind and disabled; a federal office complex; and new restaurants.

However, new shopping malls outside the city drew customers away from Chester and high unemployment reduced the buying power of residents.

A tall, easygoing man, Mr. Morrison seemed to handle the perplexing problems of the city he had learned to love with an outward calm but a heart condition finally forced him to leave his increasingly frustrating job.
After leaving his city position, Mr. Morrison worked as a planner with the Delaware County Planning Department until his death.

Even in this job, he was working for Chester. He was involved in updating the city's zoning ordinance.

"He was wrapping up the residential provisions and was in the early phase of the commercial provisions," said Lois Saunders, deputy director of the county department.

“He also was working on a comprehensive plan for the entire county,” Saunders said.

“It will set forth policies for the use of resources and what land uses are best suited for what areas," she said. “He was in the process of gathering data and background information for it."

"The thing I miss most about him was his gentleness." said Saunders. “He was always considerate and always willing to do well for others. He was just a basic, nice, quiet guy."

"Lee Morrison was one of the nicest people who worked for the city of Chester," said Willie Mae Leake, a former Chester mayor, "and I'm sorry to see a fine person like him leave us too soon."

"He was a person who never declined to speak with the press, nor did he flinch from making a comment on a difficult situation.” said a member of the press who dealt with him for many years. "He was always honest and straightforward."

Born and reared in Media, Mr. Morrison lived in Havertown for many years.

He earned a degree in architecture from the University of Pennsylvania and worked for a time for a private city planning firm in Philadelphia before taking the Chester post.

He was associated with the Delaware County Historical Commission which has established the Leedom B. Morrison Award. This annual award recognizes an outstanding historic preservation in Chester.

Previously, he had been associated with the Chester Kiwanis Club and other service groups.

Mr. Morrison loved children and raised a number of foster children throughout the years in addition to his own large family.

"His home was always full of children, dogs, hamsters, gerbils and a variety of other pets and he loved it,” said his brother, John “Jack“ Morrison of Media.

Besides his brother, he is survived by his widow, Patricia Pentheny Morrison; four sons, Leedom F. Morrison of Clifton Heights, Paul M. Morrison of Glenolden, Christopher F. Morrison of Chester and George Kopishke of Havertown; two daughters, Melanie DiCicco of New Jersey and Tracy Morrison of Delaware County; another brother, W. Frederick Morrison of St. Thomas, Virgin Islands; and seven grandchildren.

Thanks to Harvey S. Martin, hsmartin@snip.net, for sharing this obituary.

If you have any information and or pictures that you would like to contribute about this individual, please forward it to john@oldchesterpa.com

© 2002 John A. Bullock III.

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