By Rick Palsgrove
He was a familiar, friendly face and a solid worker for 55 years at Groveport Madison Schools.
Long-time Groveport Madison custodian and bus driver Gary Morrison recently passed away just shy of his 81st birthday. He worked for Groveport Madison Schools from October 1965 to Dec. 18, 2020. In 1968 he resigned as a bus driver and he became the head custodian at the Groveport School site on Main Street, a position he held until 1978 when he became the head of buildings and grounds. He retired in 2000, but came back as a substitute to cut grass until he ended his career in 2020. He was also a 32nd degree Mason.
“Gary was a light in our office,” said Groveport Madison Schools Superintendent Garilee Ogden. “He came to work every day with a smile on his face ready to serve the district and his community. He was a true part of our Cruiser family and will sorely be missed.”
The Groveport Madison maintenance department issued this statement, “One of us is missing and we feel it.”
Family member Rebecca Morrison said Gary Morrison loved Groveport and the school system.
“He went to Groveport Schools and his sons, grandsons, and even great grandchildren loved to see him at the schools when they were in school,” said Rebecca Morrison. “He worked in every building and office the district had. He could do everything from boiler repair to maintaining the turf on the new high school football field. I think that was his favorite. He was proud of what a nice field it is.”
She said Gary Morrison graduated from Groveport Madison High School in 1958, the first graduating class out of the then new high school at 751 Main Street (now Middle School Central). He had twin sons who graduated from Groveport Madison in 1978, grandsons who graduated in 1999, 2004, and 2006 and great grandchildren who attend elementary currently.
“He was there as the district grew and he watched the new middle school buildings – North and South – being built in the 1970s and then the new high school on South Hamilton Road and the Cruiser Stadium football field,” said Rebecca Morrison, who added Gary was proud of his pole vault record that stood for almost 20 years at Groveport Madison.
“He often said when anyone had trouble with something, they would find him and he could recount what had been done previously or what the old contractor did because he worked there forever,” said Rebecca Morrison. “He loved seeing his great grandkids at school and while he was cutting grass they would always look for him and say, ‘Mama we saw Grandpa Morrison today.’”
She said he was the life of the party and that he did not know a stranger.
“He loved Saturday morning trips to Rural King and getting milk shakes with the great grandkids at United Dairy Farmers,” said Rebecca Morrison. “He attended any sporting event the great grandkids had from wrestling to cheerleading and football. He would do anything for anyone, especially if it was fixing something because he had the knowledge, but he would also teach you so you would be able to do it the next time. He loved ice fishing and bass fishing and had a prized bass boat. He always had an ornery smile and the perfect laugh.”