Garden City lost a lifelong resident and its fire department a "true fireman's fireman" with the passing of John "Jack" Morrison Nov. 9.
Mr. Morrison, born at his childhood home on Brompton Road in 1916, died at the age of 95. He was active in the Garden City Fire Department through 1990.
He received a full department service before being laid to rest at Holy Rood.
According to Chief Charles Cavarra, he began suffering from health issues approximately four years ago. "He laid out his funeral plans then and we followed them to the letter and gave him a bit more," he said.
The department bestowed the rank of honorary chief to Mr. Morrison was bestowed the rank of honorary chief in 1997 and in 2006, the department re-named its Firefighter of the Year Award to the Ex-Chief John W. Morrison Firefighter of the Year Award.
His love of antique cars evolved into the creation of Garden City's antique Easter car parade, now in its 56th year. "His love for antique cars was always second to his love for the Garden City Fire Department," Cavarra said.
Althea Robinson, longtime executive director of the Garden City Chamber of Commerce, remembers Mr. Morrison as a dear friend. "Our daughters went to kindergarten together," she said, adding that in 1956 the parade had 14 cars and now has approximately 200.
As an honorary member of the chamber, Robinson said Mr. Morrison served as Easter parade grand marshal five years ago. Mayor Don Brudie suggested dedicating next year's Easter parade to Mr. Morrison.
The fire department sent the World War II veteran off in a 1932 antique fire truck during last week's services and officially retired Mr. Morrison's badge (#61), one of just three retired in the department's history.
"I can't say enough about him. He will be sorely missed," Cavarra said.
The Floral Park, New Hyde Park, Westbury, Carle Place, Mineola and Manhasset-Lakeville fire departments assisted the Garden City Fire Department during the service, providing flagged arches in front of the Cathedral of the Incarnation, fire headquarters on Stewart Avenue and at Holy Rood.