Tributes to Steve Morrison

Columbia - The StateOctober 27, 2013 

“Steve was not only a great trial lawyer and teacher of the law, but a generous leader in our community who fought tirelessly for those who could not fight for themselves. Steve was a driving force in the growth and development of our firm. We all stand on his shoulders.”

— Jim Lehman, managing partner at Nelson Mullins Riley & Scarborough law firm

“This is an utterly irreplaceable loss for South Carolina and the Columbia community. Steve was one of our most conspicuous leaders whose range of interests spanned the arts, public affairs and the law. He inspired me to give a year of public relations services to the 2004 trial of the Abbeville v. State of South Carolina school funding case which led to the documentary, Corridor of Shame: The Neglect of South Carolina’s Rural Schools. Steve championed the interests of many clients on an international scale but none were closer to his great, loving heart than those in our poorest and most isolated communities he often called “my children.”

— Bud Ferillo

“Steve was very humble in the manner in which he did his work, but probably as I think of him as a human being, I'm reminded of the sermon, or speech that Dr. King gave in 1967 or early 1968. He talked about what really made a person great," said S.C. NAACP president Lonnie Randolph, noting that King said greatness wasn't rooted in advanced degrees or perfect English. "He said that if you really want to be great, serving people is what makes you great. Steve Morrison was a great human being because his life was devoted and committed to serving people. This state, this country and this world have lost a true drum major for justice, as Dr. King spoke of.”

— Lonnie Randolph, president S.C. NAACP

“This marvelous teddy bear of a man would tell the stories and his eyes would just sparkle. It was just precious. You knew he knew the stories and wanted them to be passed on.“

— Allison Askins, associate for communication and programs at St. Martin's-in-the-Fields Episcopal Church, where Morrison was a Sunday School teacher and loved telling Bible stories in the children's chapel

He was a true advocate for what our Constitution says, that all men are created equal. As an African American, I can truly say he did not have a racial bone in his body.

— I.S. Leevy Johnson, a fellow lawyer and civic leader

“I am shocked and deeply saddened by the sudden passing of Steve Morrison. Steve was a man with a heart the size of a continent. He truly cared about people and he made it his life’s mission to provide better opportunities for those that were less fortunate. The ongoing efforts to improve educational opportunities to children in poor school districts are the direct results of his work and will be one of his many legacies. Our state has lost a great servant. My deepest sympathies and prayers go to Gail and Gregory during this most difficult time.”

—S.C. Senator Joel Lourie

“Today, our city lost a true leader. Steve Morrison dedicated his life to fighting for justice and improving the lives of those around him. But he was far more than a fine attorney. He was as passionate about the arts as he was the future of the city he chose to make his home. He was a man who was as quick to laugh as he was to cut through inequality and intolerance. He committed himself to changing the standard of public education in our State and did so. Steve Morrison made a tremendous mark on Columbia and citizens in every field of endeavor. South Carolina has lost one of its finest. I extend my deepest sympathies to Steve’s wife Gail, his son Gregory, the entire Morrison family and everyone who was fortunate enough to know him. He was taken from us far too soon and will be deeply missed and we keep them in our prayers.”

— Columbia Mayor Steve Benjamin

“There is no one in South Carolina who dedicated more in time and resources to public education than Steve Morrison. Regardless of whether you agree with the equity lawsuit, the fact that he was willing to do on a pro-bono basis shows an incredible interest in public education in this state. I’m very, very sad. It’s a great, tremendous loss for our state.”

— Senate President Pro Tempore John Courson

“He was one of these people who was able to connect with anybody else, either on a one-to-one basis or in a crowd of 1,000 people when he was giving a speech. He was just always able to touch people’s hearts. It’s hard to say who the best lawyers in the country are, but an awful lot of people would put Steve on that list of very top trial lawyers in the country.”

— Robert Brunson of Nelson Mullins’ Charleston office, who worked with Morrison for 25 years

“Steve was a true servant leader who gave all of himself in service and devotion to his family, profession, State and community. His passing is a loss to us all. Our prayers to those who knew him best and loved him most, his wife, Gail and son Gregory.“

State Rep. James Smith

He had a real feel for what makes a community, and that is that everybody feels invested and valued.

— Robin Waites, director of Historic Columbia Foundation

He had a great moral compass, and was always focused on doing the right thing.

— Larry Wilson, who hired Morrison as general counsel and executive vice president of Policy Management Systems Corp., 1993-2000

“Columbia has lost one of its most gallant and compassionate leaders."

— Mike Miller, board member, One Columbia for Arts and History (Morrison was co-chairman of One Columbia)


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