William A. Morris, Jr.
1939 – 1945
William A. Morris, Jr. was born on Staten Island on April 13, 1919. One of nine children, his family heritage on Staten Island dates back to the early 1700s.
He was a descendant of the last slave sold on Staten Island. Intermediate School 61 is named in honor of Mr. Morris’s father, William A. Morris, Sr.
Mr. Morris married Norice Allen in 1943 and raised four children and two foster children together. He graduated PS 18 and Port Richmond High School and attended Wagner College before serving our nation with the U.S. Army during World War II. After enlisting in 1939, he served in the Paciﬁc and European theaters of operation, including the Normandy Beach D-day invasion, Battle of the Bulge and served 5 years in the 369th as a sergeant until his honorable discharge.
Other highlights of Mr. Morris’s life: He was an active member of the Faith United Methodist Church, where he founded and operated the church food pantry for 40 years, with his wife, Norice Allen Morris. In addition, he served as a Boy Scout leader of Troop 47 for 35 years, culminating a successful scouting career when he received the Silver Beaver Award, the highest award of service and scouting. Also, Mr. Morris founded and facilitated the Morris Softball League in 1973.
Housed on the PS 19 schoolyard, Mr. Morris mentored 900 area children each summer until 1990.
In 2017, the PS 19 playground was dedicated in his honor. Another honor bestowed upon Mr. Morris was a 2008 proclamation from then Council member Michael C. McMahon, for Mr. Morris’s outstanding contributions to the Staten Island community.
In 2015, Mr. Morris’s daughter, Dolores N. Morris honored her father’s WWII service in her book, “The Soldier that Wagged Her Tail.”Mr. Morris passed away in May 2018 at 99 years old.
Mr. Morris, Jr. received the Albert Maniscalco Award from Borough President Oddo.
His name is now emblazoned on one of the pillars in Borough Hall’s entrance way.
Sponsored by PS 19 – The Curtis School