Plastics industry veteran Jim Morris died May 7 after a 17-month battle with ALS.
Morris — who retired earlier this year as chief operating officer of Heritage Bag Co. — was diagnosed with ALS in December 2014. He spent the next 17 months spending time with family and friends while traveling extensively both for recreation and to be part of studies and treatments that are seeking a cure for ALS, a neurodegenerative disease that's also known as Lou Gehrig's disease.
“I'm trying to get up every day and go to work and live life as normally as I can,” he said in a September interview with Plastics News.
He blogged about his life and the transition as ALS progressed, including an early 2016 post in which he discussed leaving Heritage Bag.
“It's been about a year now since I was diagnosed with ALS. I made it through 2015 with my work at Heritage with a little help from my friends,” Morris wrote. “I love my work at Heritage. My fellow employees have been so great to me through this challenge. I thank each and every one of you.
“All good things come to an end and so I'm retiring at the end of 2015. Retiring sounds so much better than disability but in reality, that's what it is. I told our owner, Carl Allen, when I could not do the job fully, I'd let him know and I'd leave. Carl has been so good to me during this past year and can't thank him enough.”
Morris' plastics career began in 1985 when he joined resin maker Fina Oil & Chemical Co. in Dallas. He stayed at Fina until 2000 then worked as a consultant before joining Roanoke, Texas-based Heritage in 2011. The firm is No. 23 in Plastics News' ranking of North America's largest film and sheet makers.
“The plastics industry lost an ardent and eloquent advocate with the passing of Jim Morris,” said Nick Vafiadis of IHS Chemicals. “He was a perpetual student of the industry who promoted plastics in public and in private for more than thirty years. While Jim will certainly be remembered as a champion of the industry his friends and colleagues will remember him as a loving father and husband, a true gentleman and loyal friend. Jim left an indelible mark on the industry and all those who knew him well. He will be greatly missed.”
Morris was a graduate of Texas A&M University and of the University of Dallas. He's survived by his wife Kim — they married in 1988 — as well as son James Tyler and daughter Niki.
A memorial service for Morris will be held May 10 at Valley Ranch Baptist Church in Coppell, Texas. His family has requested that in lieu of flowers, donations be made to the ALS Therapy Development Institute.