Earl Milton “Milt” Morin Jr., 67, died May 20, 2009, while in Austin working on legislative issues in support of Texas newspapers.
Morin was owner and publisher emeritus of the Daily Court Review, Houston, a newspaper founded in 1889 and continuously owned by his family.
Morin earned a bachelor’s degree in history from the University of St. Thomas, Houston, in 1964 and a bachelor’s degree in journalism from the University of Houston in 1970. He married Elizabeth Ewing in 1966.
Morin began his career at the Daily Court Review when he was 11 years old. Because the Daily Court Review has been a family-owned business since 1889, newspapers were in his blood. He loved the sound of a running press and the smell of fresh ink.
Morin worked for his parents throughout his teenage years, learning every aspect of the business. He went to work at the paper full-time after graduating from St. Thomas University in 1964. In 1970 Morin assumed the role of publisher and led the company for the next 34 years.
Paul Bettencourt, former Harris County tax assessor-collector, said Morin was one of first people he met when he became tax assessor.
“He was a class act, a first-class person,” Bettencourt said. “I still remember the last lunch we had. He really knew his business, that’s what always impressed me. He was really solid.”
Morin was a fixture at various downtown Houston public buildings. “From our first meeting to the day he retired he was nothing but the consumate professional and a true gentleman,” said Charles Bacarisse, former Harris County district clerk and now vice president of advancement at Houston Baptist University. “He always strove for accuracy. He was kind and respectful and I really appreciated the way he conducted himself.”
Doug Adkinson, director of criminal justice issues for Harris County Judge Ed Emmett, knew Morin for years. “He came to my office almost everyday to drop off a copy of the Daily Court Review,” Adkinson said. “He was always approachable. He was man of faith, a man with a lot of love in his heart and just so unpretentious. It was like having a great neighbor.”
After retiring as publisher in 2004, he was named publisher emeritus and continued working tirelessly to promote the importance of public notices in newspapers on behalf of the Texas newspaper industry.
Mike Hodges, executive director of the Texas Press Association, knew Morin since 1992. “He spent his life working in the newspaper industry, primarily in legal notices, but he was first and foremost a journalist. He loved the profession of journalism.”
Hodges also knew Morin as a good friend. “He was really enjoyable to be around because he made everyone else feel good. Everyone loved to be around him. Milton was very busy with the Texas Press Association this year and the staff had gotten used to visiting with him. We’ve had the benefit of him popping in the office two or three times a week. It’s been a real joy to spend all that time with him this spring. There’s a really big void now.”
Morin was an active member of the Texas Press Association, the Texas Daily Newspaper Association, the Texas Gulf Coast Newspaper Association, American Court and Commercial Newspapers and the National Newspaper Association. He served on the Texas Daily Newspaper Association / Texas Press Association Legislative Advisory Committee and on several boards of the before mentioned organizations.
“He was very committed to our work,” said Fred Hartman of Hartman Newspapers in Rosenberg, Texas, and chair of the Legislative Advisory Committee.“Milt was a wonderful man and a committed professional. He loved his family and the people he worked with. He brought a lot of knowledge and expertise to the table and was an invaluable asset to our industry.”
Ken Whalen, executive vice president of TDNA, knew Morin for the past seven years. “I was really impressed with how he was able to be very effective working on issues at the Legislature,” Whalen said. “Milton was a great guy, someone you always looked forward to talking to. It’s a big blow for the newspaper industry, both personally and professionally.”
Beyond the newspaper, Morin had a wide range of interests. He loved to read anything ranging from history to science to the stories in the Bible. He was a gifted writer, both in news journalism and poetry. Recently he completely an in-depth genealogy project tracing the history of the Morin family. He loved to play golf, ride his bike around the neighborhood and play basketball at his gym. He loved spending time with his friends, having weekly lunches with many. He enjoyed serving the elderly and lead Sunday services at area retirement and nursing homes. He loved carpentry and his most recent project was building an elaborate train village to run and house his childhood electric model trains.
Morin loved to travel and especially loved taking trips with his grown children. Two of his favorites included driving from Houston to Alaska with son Tom and backpacking through Italy with daughter Sarah.
Morin loved to eat and his Houston favorites included Churrasco’s steaks, Cleburne Cafeteria’s meringue pies and Goode Company BBQ.
He had an insatiable sweet tooth and would hide chocolate chip cookies in his desk at the office. He also loved sneaking in an afternoon snack at Moeller’s Bakery.
Morin was known for his deep love and compassion for others, his gift of serving others and his fun sense of humor. He always had a corny joke on hand, even if that meant making it up as he told it. Morin loved people and made friends with nearly everyone he met. He genuinely cared about each person he knew and was a true friend and brother to many. “The main thing that impressed me about Milton was his caring,” said Nuel Cates, publisher of the Daily Commercial Record in Dallas. “He was honest and he cared about other people.”
Morin’s greatest joy was his family. He dedicated his life to loving and providing for us,” daughter Sarah Geyer said. “He was a caring and devoted husband and an incredible father. For my dad, spending time with us was the highlight of his every day. No matter the circumstances of his day, he always cared more about the circumstances of ours. He loved us unconditionally.
“His greatest gift to us was his love for his Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. His faith and life-by-example are his legacy. We will carry this with us forever.”
Morin is survived by his wife of Elizabeth Ewing Morin; his son and daughter-in-law Thomas Milton Morin and Julie Mann Morin, and their daughter, Maya Kathryn Morin; and his daughter and son-in-law Sarah Morin Geyer and Mark Russell Geyer, and their daughter Madeline Grace Geyer.