March 30, 2015

Todd Marshall
Director of Communications,
Marketing and Development
903.794.3651 ext. 1013

Texarkana Independent School District Names Martha W. Morriss and Josh R. Morriss, Jr. as 2015 Distinguished Alumni

Texarkana, TX - Texarkana Independent School District honored two of their own, Martha W. Morriss (Texas High School Class of 1943) and Josh R. Morriss, Jr. (Texas High School Class of 1942), as the 2015 Distinguished Alumni during events held on Friday, March 27.

A Student-Parent Breakfast was held from 9:00 – 10:30 a.m. at the Martha and Josh Morriss Mathematics & Engineering Elementary School, 4826 University Park. The event offered students in the 5th Grade Class the opportunity to meet Mr. & Mrs. Morriss and ask questions of them regarding their education, community involvement and life. This first-hand lesson from two outstanding community members showed students that the example you set for others and for yourself begins at an early age in order to build a strong foundation for personal and professional growth.

From 11:30 a.m. – 1:00 p.m., a Distinguished Alumni Luncheon was held at the Texarkana Country Club, #1 Country Club Drive, where the two individuals were presented and awarded the honor of 2015 Distinguished Alumni.

Mrs. Martha Morriss graduated from Texas High School in 1943. During her time at THS, Mrs. Morriss served as Class Secretary, Vice President of the Junior Class and was a Majorette in the Tiger Marching Band. Following graduation, she attended Randolph Macon Woman’s College in Lynchburg, Virginia, which is now named Randolph College and is a coed. Mrs. Morriss earned a Bachelor of Arts in Mathematics but feels that one of the most important lessons she learned through her college years was the honor system. The philosophy behind the honor system made a lasting impression on her life and she always strived to be on her honor at all times and in all places.

For our community, Mrs. Morriss has served and volunteered her time for the Junior League of Texarkana, Hospice of Texarkana, Literacy Council of Bowie & Miller Counties, Texarkana Regional Arts & Humanities Council (TRAHC), Women for the Arts and Keep Texarkana Beautiful. Additionally, she has served in many roles for her church – Williams Memorial United Methodist Church.

Mrs. Morriss is a very strong advocate for city beautification, education and TRAHC’s ArtSmart program which brings the arts to schools and promotes greater thinking and reasoning among students.

Mr. Josh Morriss, Jr. is also a Texas High School graduate earning his high school diploma in 1942. While at Texas High School, he served as Class Secretary and was President of his Senior Class. Mr. Morriss was also active in the Drama Club, Basketball, Baseball and Football.

After high school, he attended Texas A&M University at College Station and then was accepted into the United States Naval Academy in 1943. Mr. Morriss earned a Bachelor of Science in Electrical Engineering and then went on to serve our country as an active member of the U.S. Navy for five years. He remained a member of the Ready Reserves until the age of 35.

Mr. Morriss has also been very instrumental in our community by serving as a volunteer and member of the Wilbur Smith Rotary Club, United Way of Greater Texarkana, Texarkana Chamber of Commerce, Texarkana Airport Authority and the Caddo Council of Boy Scouts. He, along with his three sons, is an Eagle Scout and he has received the Silver Beaver Award, Silver Antelope Award and Distinguished Eagle Scout Award for his efforts in scouting. In fact, one of his good friends, Mr. Ross Perot, honored Mr. Morriss and his efforts in scouting by naming the entrance to the National Scouting Museum after him.

Mr. Morriss served as President of Offenhauser & Company for many years. He, too, has dedicated much of his life to serving in his church – Williams Memorial United Methodist Church. There, he has been a member of the Building Committee, Finance Committee, Trustee, Sunday School teacher and lifetime Choir Member.

Mr. & Mrs. Morriss were married on New Year’s Eve – December 31, 1948. This dynamic duo have worked as a team for 67 years and on projects such as restoring the Perot Theatre, fundraising to turn the county building into the Regional Arts Center, building efforts for Williams Memorial United Methodist Church and the development of Cornerstone Retirement Center, which serves over 200 senior citizens.

They are proud parents of three sons – Chief Justice Josh Morriss, III, Don Morriss and William Morriss. They are also blessed with six granddaughters and ten great grandchildren.

Since 1992, TISD has sponsored a Distinguished Alumni Awards program to recognize the outstanding personal and professional achievements of their alumni. These outstanding former Texas High School and Dunbar High School graduates are models to current and future alumni in terms of their professional, leadership and ethical standards. Past award recipients have been: Truman Arnold, Dr. Lenox Dial Baker, Miller Barber, Melvin Bradley, Dr. Karen D. Bradshaw, Billy C. Burnettm Ned Burns, Dr. William Dorland, Lt. Col. Norman “Ken” Dyson, Theron Goynes, Dan Haskins, Ethel Pauley Jones, David Kusin, Gary Kusin, Prudence Mackintosh, Donald Ray McNeal, George McWilliams, Rick Minter, Jerry “Boo” Mitchell, Jr., Lt. Col. Daniel Oosterhous, H. Ross Perot, Dan Petty, Col. Willie Pollard, Jr., Collin Raye, Bill Rogers, Marjorie Scardino, Vicki Schultz, Robert Wickliffe “Wick” Temple, Dr. David Tilson, III, Sheilah Walker and Dr. Steve Woodle.

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