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Bruce L. Morris, 85

posted: Nov 16, 2017 8:27 am

Former New Haven State Sen. Bruce L. Morris, 85, of North Haven, formerly of Branford and New Haven, entered into eternal rest peacefully on Nov. 11 while under Hospice Care at Yale-New Haven Hospital with his loving wife by his side.

Bruce (birth name Brass Morris, Jr.) was born in New Haven and was the son of the late Brass Morris, Sr. and Leona (Foreman) Morris. He leaves behind his wife Cheryl Morris of 23 years; his sons Anthony (Eula-May) Morris of Cheshire, Bruce V. (Gail) Morris of Norwalk; his daughter Sherry (Lawrence) Dorsi of North Haven; his sister Sandra Holloway of Louisville, KY; his grandchildren Quentin Morris, Christian Morris, Bruce V. Morris,
Jr., Gwendolyn Morris, Tisheana Perkins, Samantha Dorsi and Adriana Dorsi. He is also survived by several great-grandchildren, nieces, and nephews. He was predeceased by his first wife, Gwendolyn Morris Ellis.

Bruce had incredible wit and a wonderful sense of humor. He brought joy and laughter to all those around him. He had a warm and generous heart and was always ready to help anyone in need, friends and strangers alike. If you had the pleasure of knowing him, you knew instantly that you made a friend for life. He was a warm, fun loving man with a heart of gold. He could talk to anyone about anything and you never left him
without a smile on your face. He touched many lives and will be sadly missed.

He dedicated his entire life to making the communities in which he lived a better place to live. He had a long career in public service. He started his political career participating in voter registration during the John F. Kennedy days of the 1960s. He served as a New Haven alderman from 1962 to 1966, and in 1967 was elected to the first of five terms in the House of Representatives. While in the House, he served as deputy speaker, assistant majority leader, and assistant minority leader.

Bruce served as the New Haven Democratic Town Committee treasurer from 1968-1989 and was a Democratic State Central Committeeman for the 10th and the 12th Senate Districts from 1988-1990. He was also a state senator representing the 10th District in New Haven and West Haven. He was first elected in January 1990 to complete the term of Mayor John Daniels and elected to a full term in November 1990. He resigned his position as a state senator to become a commissioner of the Department of Public Works for Gov. Lowell Weicker. He retired from the state of Connecticut in 1995.

Bruce was a former Police Commissioner in Branford from 1999-2007. He was also a member of the Branford Democratic Town Committee from 1997-2006 and was chairman of the committee from 1997-1998. Most recently, he served on the North Haven Building Committee that was responsible for the design and renovation of the North Haven Middle School. Prior to his retirement from the state, he worked for the Southern New England Telephone Company from 1971-1987 and retired as a division manager for Government Affairs, responsible for legislation in Connecticut. Prior to working for SNET, he was a manufacturing engineer and worked in the aerospace and arms industry. He also was a tool and product design engineer and worked for Sargent Hardware and M.B. Electronics.

He also was a self-employed lobbyist for Fortune 500 companies, a real estate broker, a commercial mortgage broker and past vice president of Mor-Fam Electric, Inc. He was also an adjunct professor and taught a course in business and government relations at the University of New Haven’s Graduate School of Business. Bruce attended New Haven Public Schools and graduated from St. Mary’s High School. He attended Central Connecticut State College, Connecticut State Technical College and graduated from the Colonial School of Tool Design. He received a bachelor of science from Southern New Hampshire University and received a master of business administration from the University of New Haven.

Bruce was very active with organizations devoted to young people and has served as past president and advisory board member of the Quinnipiac Council of the Boy Scouts of America. He was actively involved in the community and served on the board of directors of the following organizations: Corporation for Urban Home Ownership, Inc.; the NAACP executive board, New Haven Democratic Federation (chairman of the executive board), Science Park Development Corporation, Farnam Neighborhood House, Connecticut Advocates for the Arts, New Haven Convention and Visitor Bureau, Junior Achievement of South Central New Haven, Greater Hartford Arts Council, Community Progress, Inc., Community Council of Greater New Haven, Community Housing, Operation Breakthrough (vice chairman executive board), CARP (executive board), National Veteran’s Fraternity, Inc. (executive board).

He also served on many committees and was involved in many associations. He was chairman of the South Central Community College Regional Advisory Council, he served on the scholarship committee of the New Haven County Sheriff’s Association, the Committee of 20 University of Connecticut, Connecticut Black Legislative Caucus, Black Elected Officials, and the N.E. Advisory Committee on Library Services for Youthful Offenders.

Bruce was a senior member of the Society of Manufacturing Engineers, Fairfield Chapter #6, past president of the Connecticut State Federation of Black Democratic Clubs, past Exalted Ruler and State President of the East Rock Lodge #131, committee member of the Urban League of Greater
New Haven, U.S. Sen. Christopher Dodd’s U.S. Service Academy selection committee, Black Management Association-Southern New England Telephone Co. and the United Way Campaign Policy committee. He also served on several commissions including the Connecticut Historical Commission, American Revolution Bicentennial Commission of Connecticut, and the Commission on Intergovernmental Cooperation.

He was recognized for his contributions and received several awards: the Silver Beavers Award-Boy Scout of America, Outstanding Freshman Legislator, 22nd Ward Democratic Community Achievement Award, East Rock Elks Legislative Award, Honorary Deputy Sheriff, New Haven County, Who’s Who in American Politics, Fenmore Seton Award-University of New Haven, Whitney Young Award-Boy Scouts of America. He was a veteran of the U.S. Army and was the first black
military policeman to serve at West Point.

He was honorably discharged after serving as a corporal with the Military Police at the U.S. Military Academy at West Point, New York.

A mass of Christian burial with military honors to celebrate Bruce’s life will be held on Saturday at 10 a.m. at Our Lady of Mount Carmel Church, 2819 Whitney Avenue, Hamden. There will be no calling hours. Interment will be private and at the convenience of the family. In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be made to St Martin de Porres Church, 136 Dixwell Avenue, New Haven, CT. Services by Howard K. Hill Funeral Services, 1287 Chapel St, New Haven, CT 06511. To leave a message of comfort for the Morris family, please visit, www.hkhfuneralservices.com.

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