Stewart Celebrates 80-year Milestone of Stewart Morris Sr.

August 23, 2018

Stewart Information Services recently honored Stewart Morris Sr. as marked 80 years of service to the company.

“Given the countless stories about him, Stewart is a man that is to be experienced rather than described,” said Matt Morris, chief executive officer of Stewart Information Services Corp. “His wisdom, wit and walk have largely defined the Stewart culture, and we are extremely grateful for his legacy and his continuous investment in the Stewart Title family.”

Even at 98 years old, Morris can still be found in his office, meeting, engaging with customers and motivating leaders. 

Morris worked his way from office boy to past president and past co-chief executive officer of Stewart Information Services Corporation. His son, Stewart Morris Jr., a 40-year veteran employee, is now senior chairman of Stewart Title Guaranty Company, while Stewart Morris has moved to chairman emeritus of Stewart Information International, vice chairman and advisor to the board of Stewart Title Guaranty.

In 1943, Stewart received his Bachelor of Arts degree from the University of Texas and his LLB degree from Southern Methodist University. He married Joella Morris, who also graduated from SMU. The same year he graduated from the U.S. Navy Midshipman’s school at Columbia University and served in the Navy as a Lieutenant JG on LST 38 in seven invasions in the South Pacific, during World War II. In 1980, the Houston Texas native received his honorary PhD from Houston Baptist University. In 2006 Morris and his wife Joella each received honorary PhD’s from Washington & Lee University, one of the oldest universities in the U.S.A.

Morris has devoted his entire business career to the management, growth and expansion of the subsidiary companies known as Stewart Title. Morris followed his father William Carloss Morris, who died in 1950, when Stewart Title had only eight offices and a few agents in Texas. Morris has observed the company grow to all 50 states and 13 foreign countries now with offices and agents in over 9,000 locations. Morris was inducted into the Texas Business Hall of Fame in October 1995.

To improve lives of inmates upon release, Morris became interested in donating computers to the InnerChange Freedom Initiative program. Inmates of Jester II Unit in Richmond, Texas, used the donated computers for job training. Morris led the effort to have several other companies donate computers.

Involved in his community, for over 50 years Morris has served as trustee and secretary of the Oldham Little Church Foundation, which financially assists over 200 small churches each year. He is a past honoree of the National Jewish Center for Immunology and Respiratory Medicine Trustees Dinner of Houston and is a past national trustee of the National Jewish Center, headquartered in Denver; past trustee of Star of Hope Mission; and past honoree of the Fort Bend County War on Drugs; past advisory trustee of the National Trust for Historic Preservation; past director of Harris County Heritage Society and the Galveston Historical Foundation; past chairman of the Carriage Museum of America and honoree life trustee of the Carriage Association of America; a founding father and twice past chairman of trustees of Houston Baptist University; and now Trustee Emeritus, deacon of Second Baptist Church; past senior chairman of Southern National Bank; past honoree of Memorial Hermann Hospital Foundation's annual dinner; distinguished alumni of SMU Law School; past honoree of Houston Exchange Club; 2002 honoree of the Galleria Chamber of Commerce “Legend in Time” Gala; and past honoree of the Junior Achievement Houston Chapter.

Morris and his wife Joella were the contributors to the new Joella and Stewart Morris Cultural Arts Center at Houston Baptist University where the Museum of Southern History, The Decorative Arts Museum and the American Bible Museum are located.

Morris sponsored terrestrial photogrammetry of Mt. Vernon, the home of George Washington, providing precise film of interior and exterior from which detailed plans can be generated, should physical disaster occur. Morris and two other sponsors provided financing for complete disassembly and restoration of George Washington’s North Palladian windows. Morris participated in the 200th anniversary of the reenactment of George Washington’s funeral as broadcasted on CNN and has financed the restoration of the stables and carriage coach house at Mount Vernon.

Morris received The Paul Carrington Chapter No. 5, 2004 Sons of the American Revolution “George Washington Service Award.” The George Washington Service Award is the most prestigious award given by the Paul Carrington Chapter. It is conferred at the celebration of the birthday of our country’s first president to a person who has manifested the highest quality of public and private life as exemplified by the Father of the Country.

Morris received the 28th Fellow of the University, from the University of Chester, established in 1836. This award is given to individuals for their community engagement, Christian ethos, betterment of others, service for the greater good and expanding knowledge.

Morris is past member of the Thomas Jefferson Monticello Memorial Cabinet and is a major donor for the ongoing restoration of Poplar Forest, Jefferson’s hideaway plantation.

Morris restored and endowed the 1842 house on the front campus of Washington & Lee University which contains the Washington and Lee suites for visiting dignitaries, the house of which is known as the Morris House. He and his wife Joella led the Galveston Stewart Title home office 1881 building restoration. They purchased the 16 granite columns from the Galveston County court house and erected them on the campus of Houston Baptist University, symbolizing the 10 commandments.

Morris has logged 6,300 hours as aircraft pilot, flying from Central America to the Arctic Circle. Today, Morris drives “Four in Hand”—four-high Courage gray horses with a carriage from his collection of 50.


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