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WILLIAM A. MORROW: 1943 — 2009: Local Little League co-founder was ‘go-to guy for everything’

Bill Morrow would’ve been proud.

Not one, but two Manatee County Little League teams from G.T. Bray park are at the state tournament, where he helped found Manatee West Little League in the 1980s.

“He’d be excited,” said Kevin McInerney, a former Manatee West administrator, coach and colleague. “But he’d also be thinking about making sure a new kid, who might not know which end of the bat to hold, has a great baseball experience, too.”

Mr. Morrow died Friday from pancreatic cancer.

He was 66.

The Hamilton, Ohio, native was a fixture at G.T. Bray.

He was the Manatee West president for seven years, then president of Babe Ruth Baseball for at least five more.

“A Little League lifer,” said Al Melnick, who coached varsity and junior varsity baseball at Manatee High School for 23 years.

“He was always at the ballpark and did good things around there people never knew about.”

His youngest son saw it first-hand, growing up at G.T. Bray.

“He was always the one who turned out the lights,” Roger Morrow said. “He was the go-to guy for everything there.”

Running registration.

Working concessions.

Helping move bleachers.

During Little League season, it was routine for Mr. Morrow to leave work in Tampa, head straight to G.T. Bray and not be home before 10 p.m.

He’d eat dinner at the park rather than have Luan, his wife of 43 years, wait for him.

“My father wanted what was best for me and my two brothers (Jason and Peter), but he wanted a place where everybody could go and made sure things were organized,” Morrow said.

That included making tough decisions.

“Playing the games and being on the field is the fun part,” McInerney said. “Then there are all the other things that need to get done to make them possible. That’s what Bill did, being conscientious to the task at hand.

“He was not into politics and was a big-picture guy. He was able to draw people together, resolve the issue and get them to move on together.”

Besides his wife and three sons, Mr. Morrow is survived by brother Don and sister Linda, both of Eaton, Ohio; sister Carolynn of Sault Ste. Marie, Mich.; daughter-in-law Kim Morrow; and two granddaughters, Sydney and Shelby, of Bradenton.

Funeral arrangements are being handled by Toale Brothers Funeral Home & Crematory, 912 53rd Ave. W. Visitation is 6 to 8 p.m. Monday. The funeral Mass is 1 p.m. Tuesday at St. Joseph Catholic Church, 3100 26th St. W., Bradenton.

Vin Mannix, local columnist, can be reached at 745-7055, or write him at Bradenton Herald, P.O. Box 921, Bradenton, FL 34206 or e-mail him at vmannix@bradenton.com. Please include a phone number for verification.

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