Businessman and MLA Newell Morrison a ‘great example’

Newell Morrison will always have the admiration of his eldest son.

“He was really just a great example to follow, he showed by example,” Brent Morrison said Saturday, describing his father’s work ethic.

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Morrison, a one-term Social Credit MLA and longtime Victoria businessman, died in his Lansdowne Road home on July 31.

He was 89.

Brent said his father wasn’t a big risk-taker, but was savvy in his forays into other businesses. He started working on the Island in a car dealership, expanding to supply Cessna airplanes to the province in later years. “He was a man of his word back in the day when you could do business with a handshake,” Brent said.

Born in 1924 in Chungking Hills, China, where his father was a missionary, Newell Morrison moved to Regina at the age of one.

He served as a pilot in the Royal Canadian Air Force during the Second World War. After the war, he moved to Vancouver to study at the University of British Columbia.

In 1949, Morrison married Marjorie Dunn. The pair had gone to the same school in Regina before being separated by the war. The young family moved to Victoria, where Morrison started Morrison Chevrolet Oldsmobile Ltd. at Street and Finlayson streets in 1956.

Morrison became a prominent member of Victoria’s business community and helped found one of the city’s oldest travel agencies, Travelworld, in 1971. He was also a shareholder in West Coast Air Services, which was eventually sold to Jimmy Pattison and became Air Canada.

He also served as a trustee on the Terry Fox Medical Research Foundation, was a former president of the B.C. Development Corp. and a past chairman of Pacific Isotopes and Pharmaceuticals Ltd.

Morrison decided to enter provincial politics after being asked by W.A.C. Bennett and several friends in the car dealership business. He was elected as MLA for the Victoria riding for the Social Credit Party in 1972, serving in opposition to the Dave Barrett NDP government. But the political life wasn’t for him, and Morrison decided not to run for re-election in 1975.

Family was important to Morrison, who had three sons — Brent, Craig and Kevin — and a daughter, Susan. “He loved to have the family around,” Brent said.

Morrison is survived by his wife, Marjorie, his four children and seven grandchildren.

A funeral will be held on Aug. 19 at McCall’s downtown. In lieu of flowers, the Morrison family asks the public to make donations to a charity of their choosing.

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