Editorial Cartoon by Graeme MacKay, The Hamilton Spectator – Wednesday February 7, 2018
“Gentle giant:” Hamilton’s longest serving mayor, Bob Morrow dies at 71
Hamilton’s longest-serving mayor never stopped working for the community he loved.
That sounds like a cliché — except Bob Morrow literally spent the hours before his death working the phones to try to find a Sunday mass replacement organist for his beloved St. Patrick parish downtown.
His death Monday, at age 71, spurred a flood of online tributes Monday from friends, politicians of all stripes and even new Canadians welcomed by the former citizenship judge.
Morrow guided pre-amalgamation Hamilton as mayor from 1982 to 2000 and later stepped up in 2014 to fill a vacant Ward 3 council seat. But his passion for the community was visible outside of politics, too.
Morrow left “a number of messages” in the early hours of Sunday apologizing for missing mass at St. Patrick Roman Catholic Church where he served as organist for almost a decade, said Fr. Tony O’Dell by email. “In his last message he reminded me that this was the first time he missed a mass during his time with us. He will be remembered as a true statesman and kind-hearted man in our parish and beyond.”
That was his father in a nutshell, said son George Morrow.
Morrow, who kept his health challenges to himself as much as possible, tried to keep up with his volunteer commitments despite being on dialysis for months due to an undisclosed illness, said his son. He said a complicating lung infection interfered with his father’s treatment and hastened his death.
Morrow is survived by his two sons, George and Kerr.
“He was so passionate about (his church duties),” said George. “He was going into the hospital and he was still calling around, looking for a replacement. It mattered to him.”
Those sorts of stories followed Morrow throughout his political career. (Hamilton Spectator)
RIP Mayor Bob Morrow
News came yesterday of the death of Bob Morrow, Hamilton’s longest serving Mayor (1982-2000). His political career was coming to an end by the time I had arrived on the scene as the Spec’s editorial cartoonist in mid-1997. As the cartoons below illustrate, the issues he had been dealing with at the time were related to a declining downtown, ridicule of Hamilton, and the coming amalgamated city of surrounding communities into an expanded city of Hamilton. While he failed to attain enough votes to continue as mayor in 2000 he proved to be the biggest civic cheerleader of the city, and he served it well.