Funeral Service Details
Wednesday, November 15, 2023
St. Boniface Catholic Church
Wednesday, November 15, 2023
Immediately following Mass
Holy Sepulcher Cemetery
James (Jim) Henry Morrissey passed away peacefully in his home on November 5, 2023, with his loving and devoted wife Margaret Ellen Morrissey by his side.
Born in 1930 in New Rochelle, New York to Elizabeth Ann Coventry and Thomas Phillip Morrissey, Jim grew up in a closely knit Irish-Catholic family, with his three brothers, Thomas, Edward and Ray and his sister Betty. The “boys” enjoyed regaling others with stories of their childhood, from bringing home a pet alligator to making solo trips, under the age of three, to the local fire station where their father worked as a firefighter. Whoever saw the toddler first would yell, “Mo! Here comes a little Mo!” Their mother was a saint for all of them surviving into adulthood. Jim’s family was enormously proud of their service to our country. Jim’s father joined the Navy at 13 years old, when the commanding officer discovered that he was a child, he was promptly shipped home to his mother. Undeterred, his father joined the military again when he was 15 years old. Jim and his three brothers proudly followed their father’s footsteps into service. Jim joined the Army Air Corps (U.S. Air Force) in 1947 serving in Japan and the Philippines. Jim loved to tell stories of his time stationed overseas (some not appropriate for publication). Among his favorite was in Japan when a group of boys were playing baseball, and they saw a US serviceman and assumed him to be an expert on baseball. As he walked by the scene of one boy lying on home plate and the other above him with his ball in his mitt, one of the boys cried out, “Joe, safe or out?” Jim had not seen the play but saw the pensive look on the boy that had just slid into home plate and called him safe. From his time stationed overseas, Jim developed a love of foreign languages. Jim could speak some Japanese, Tagalog and he learned Spanish later in life. Of course, he could also speak some Latin from his days as an altar boy.
Jim’s family moved to Arizona in 1943 and it is there that he met the beautiful Margaret Ellen Woodruff. Jim was smitten with Margaret and the two married in 1952 after a whirlwind six months of dating. Jim eventually left the military and began a career as a machinist. The aerospace industry was exploding in California in 1956 and Jim left Arizona for California to pursue better job opportunities, but not before Jim and Margaret had three of their six children, James Henry, Mary Elizabeth, and John Edward. After moving to California, the last three children were born, Michael Lee, Janice Dee, and Margaret Ann. Jim was a lifelong lover of science and technology. He began his career working as a tool and die maker and eventually became the president and owner of a successful precision machine shop providing computer generated parts for the aerospace industries, including the Space Shuttle.
Jim and Margaret raised their children in Buena Park, California before moving to Anaheim in 1979. After their children were grown, Jim dabbled in the stock market and became a licensed stockbroker. Jim loved telling the story of a run in he had with an irate driver, who was upset with him for some perceived wrong. As Jim sat in his car, not responding to this individual they eventually walked away, but not before performing a ritualistic curse that they claimed to have put on him. That day Jim made a small fortune on stock options he purchased for Reebok. Jim spent the next month looking for the driver so he could obtain another curse.
After retirement, Jim ran for political office after his wife chided him for complaining but not acting. Jim ran as a Republican in a primarily Democratic district for State Assembly. Jim proudly walked to every house and knocked on every door in the district. Jim won the seat in 1994 and was reelected in 1996. Jim left office in 1998. Among his many accomplishments was funding for the Discovery Science Center in Santa Ana. Jim was a lifelong lover of science and a staunch supporter of STEM and the underdog. The building of the Discovery Science Center in Santa Ana allowing STEM access to disadvantaged communities was one of his proudest moments.
Jim was also responsible for enacting the “Morrissey Retirement Income Protection Act” which prohibited the state from taxing former residents’ pension income. Another proud moment for Jim was in 1995, the Legislature passed his resolution calling for the release of Jimmy Tran, an American citizen being held as a political prisoner in Vietnam. Jim later traveled to Vietnam at his own expense to try and win Tran's political freedom and that of nine other Vietnamese Americans. Although, the trip did not achieve its goal, it brought attention to the cases of the Vietnamese American prisoners.
Aside from his many accomplishments in his life, Jim was a devoted husband, father, and grandfather. Margaret was the love of his life, and they were happily married for 71 years. Jim was immensely proud of his six children and their accomplishments. He was also a devoted and fun grandfather. He would host “Un-Birthday parties” for his grandchildren, take them on trips, treasure their primitive drawings and frame their “special rocks” gifted to him.
Jim is survived by his wife, Margaret (Woodruff) Morrissey, his six children: James Morrissey of Ann Arbor MI, Mary (Bruce) Stevens of Brownsville TX, John (Valerie) of Yorba Linda, CA, Michael (Christina) of Bothell WA, Janice (Michael) Reger of Yorba Linda CA and Margaret (David) Elder of Huntington Beach, CA; 14 grandchildren, 11 great-grandchildren, two step-grandchildren , four step-great-grandchildren and his brother Edward (Doris) Morrissey, Seal Beach, CA.
The family invites you to attend his funeral mass at St. Boniface Catholic Church on November 15, 2023, at 10:00 am. Burial will be at the Holy Sepulcher Cemetery in Orange, CA immediately following mass.