Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Mount Etna Morris (1900-1988)

Portrait from the 1951-52 Missouri Blue Book.
   Named in honor of the tallest active volcano in Europe and bearing a remarkable resemblance to Harold Ramis' character "Egon Spengler" in the Ghostbusters films, Mount Etna Morris served over ten years in the office of Missouri State Treasurer, being elected to that office on three nonconsecutive occasions. "M.E." Morris (as some sources record him) was born on September 1, 1900 in Dadeville, Missouri, being the son of Albert and Veda Palestine Wilson Morris
   A student in the Dadeville schools and the Walnut Grove High School in Green County, Morris later attended the University of Missouri and also served overseas during the First World War. He married on December 24, 1922, to Everton, Missouri native Helen Adamson, with whom he would have two children, Helen "June" Morris Croce (1924-2008) and John A.(birth-date unknown). Mount Morris and his wife were married until Helen's death in 1966 and one year later he remarried to Margery Lott Adamson (1923-2008), a relative of his first wife.
   Morris first became active in banking in the late 1920s when he aided in organizing the People's National Bank of Miller Missouri. He served as that bank's director from 1928-1936 and in the last named year became the executive officer of the National Bank of Trenton, Missouri, a post he'd continue in until 1945. He also began to dabble in politics around this time, being elected to two terms in the Missouri State House of Representatives from Lawrence County, serving from 1932-1936. Throughout the next decade, he continued the climb the ranks of public service, being appointed as State Finance Commissioner in 1945 and Director of the Missouri Department of Revenue in the following year. 
   In November 1948 Morris won election as Missouri State Treasurer, entering into office in January 1949. This was the first of three nonconsecutive terms in that post, and at the expiration of his first term in 1953, he returned to his earlier banking interests. In 1957 he was returned to the office of treasurer, serving until 1961. Four years later he was elected for the third and final time and served until 1969. Interestingly, Morris is the only Missouri State Treasurer to have served three terms in office.
   Mount Etna Morris died at the age of 87 on July 8, 1988, following a fall at a nursing facility where he had been a resident. He was subsequently buried in the Riverview Cemetery in Jefferson City, Missouri. He was survived by his second wife Margery, who died June 19, 2008, aged 85. 

                                                            Morris during his later years.

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