What can I possibly say about Walter Morris that hasn't already been said?

He was a family man, a God-fearing man, a civic-minded individual, a wise man, a Southern gentleman in every sense of the word, and a true friend.

What can I possibly say about Walter Morris that hasn't already been said?

He was a family man, a God-fearing man, a civic-minded individual, a wise man, a Southern gentleman in every sense of the word, and a true friend.

This next March will mark 28 years since I came to Helena-West Helena as managing editor of The Helena World. I was separated from my family except for weekends for a period of nearly three months. It was the longest three months of my life.

I had just set up housekeeping in a small townhouse apartment. Cable TV had not yet been installed, so I visited a local video rental dealer and rented a VCR and a couple of movies to have something to do. The man I rented the tapes from asked, “Why are you moving here? Everybody else is moving out.”

That was not Walter Morris' Helena-West Helena. If there is any one thing I am sure about the man was that he loved this community and its diverse group of people and he put his all into it to helping make it a better place to live.

Walter Morris was one of the first three people who helped make me feel at home in Phillips County – the others being Ms. Charleen Hickey and Dr. Steven Jones. I became acquainted with them all by covering the then Phillips County Community College Board of Directors meeting. Unlike other governing bodies, they permitted me to sit in on executive sessions and would politely ask if I would be careful with certain issues.

They didn't treat me like the mistrusted media.

Over the years, Mr. Morris would occasionally drop by my office for a friendly chat or call me and offer me some type of friendly advice and sometimes much-needed encouragement. Of course, there were things he wanted to see this city accomplish that have not yet come to fruition – yet.

Without question, Helena-West Helena is going to miss Walter Morris on a daily basis. He will be remembered every time the doors of Phillips College open and the youngsters dart in and out of the Boys & Girls Club of Phillips County. There are many things that stand as an outstanding legacy to this great man.

If I have any regrets it's that I didn't get that one last opportunity to speak to him. I would have shared with him my plans for retirement and plans to take on a new genre of writing to help make people think and love one another.

I am sure he would have approved. And without reservation I will say that he sincerely influenced me in my future efforts. I will sorely miss his words of wisdom.