Pete S. Morris, an owner of restaurants and vending businesses who organized — and often cooked for — events in support of causes, candidates, church, and community, died Monday in Hospice of Northwest Ohio, Perrysburg Township. He was 88.
He had cancer, his daughter Pam Martin said.
Mr. Morris, an Oregon resident and North Toledo native, was a mainstay of Holy Trinity Greek Orthodox Cathedral. About 20 years ago, he was among the founding volunteers of what has become an annual Thanksgiving dinner for residents of Madonna Homes nearby. He and friends and family members were with him in the church kitchen to prepare the main course and all the fixings.
He pitched in at Holy Trinity’s annual Greek festival since its start in the early 1970s.
“He did a lot of things quietly for the parish,” said George Yakumithis, manager of Michael’s Bar & Grill. “He wasn’t looking for any recognition. It was doing the right thing for the right reason.
“If he committed to [his] support, no matter whether parish council or some other something or other or helping someone out, he honored that commitment,” Mr. Yakumithis said. “He had a really good way of bringing in people to help. He helped bring our community together.”
A former officer in the Oregon Democratic Party, he threw fund-raisers for candidates he supported across Lucas County, including former Lucas County Commissioner Harry Barlos — his nephews and such longtime office holders as Anthony Pizza, the late Lucas County prosecutor, and Judge James Bates of Lucas County Common Pleas Court.
“He was so proud to be a citizen and have these kind of rights,” his daughter said. “He thought everybody should vote, it didn’t matter what side you were on.”
He was born Jan. 4, 1929, to Katherine and Steve Morris, both Greek immigrants. He started selling newspapers on a downtown street corner at the age of 7. He was 12-years-old when his father died, and he started doing factory work. He attended Woodward High School.
He was a glass worker for more than a decade at the Libbey-Owens-Ford Co. He was a member of Ironworkers Local 55 and worked on such projects as the Fermi nuclear power station near Monroe.
He had multiple jobs at once, his daughter said. He had vending companies that installed and serviced cigarette machines and juke boxes. He owned commercial buildings, which he rented out.
His businesses included a restaurant at Starr Avenue and Wheeling Street in Oregon, known variously as Ole Hickory Inn, Morris’ Restaurant nd Pete’s Hot Dog. His wife worked with there. He also owned a venue on Central Avenue in Toledo called Morris’.
“He loved the camaraderie of the people,” his daughter said. “When he owned the place on Starr, I think his favorite meal to serve was breakfast. If he was really busy, they’d pour their own coffee. He had so many people who were friends, and we had great regular customers at that location.”
Surviving are his wife of 69 years, Alfreda “Fritzie” Morris; daughters Catherine Manol, Pam Martin, Susan Anderson, and Cindie Balint; five grandchildren, and five great-grandchildren.
Visitation will be from 3-8 p.m Thursday, at Eggleston, Meinert, and Pavley Funeral Home, Oregon Chapel, with a Trisagion service at 7 p.m. Funeral services will be at 11 a.m. Friday at Holy Trinity Greek Orthodox Cathedral.
The family suggests tributes to Hospice of Northwest Ohio or to Holy Trinity Greek Orthodox Cathedral.
Guidelines: Please keep your comments smart and civil. Don't attack other readers personally, and keep your language decent. Comments that violate these standards, or our privacy statement or visitor's agreement, are subject to being removed and commenters are subject to being banned. To post comments, you must be a registered user on toledoblade.com. To find out more, please visit the FAQ.