Boise says goodbye to Velma V. Morrison Sunday with a great show

“Mrs. Morrison, this is for you!” said Tony-winning vocalist Brian Stokes Mitchell, pointing to Morrison’s box seat above the orchestra seats as he launched into a medley of her favorite composer George Gershwin’s tunes, backed by Robert Franz and the Boise Philharmonic.

It was a great show that Morrison would have loved to see in the theater that carries her name. Morrison, the widow of construction magnate Harry W. Morrison became a great influence on the state of Idaho, its culture, politics, environment and education. Her contributions grew out of her compassion for others, love of family and of Idaho.

And her legacy of giving will continue, said Justin Wilkerson, Morrison’s grandson and president of the Harry W. Morrison Foundation announced. Half of Velma Morrison’s estate, which is worth millions, he said, will flow into the Morrison Foundation and continue to offer grant money to fund projects in Idaho.

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The afternoon brought together community leaders who offered thoughts, praise and stories about Morrison’s spark, energy and outspokenness. Franz lovingly called her “Hurricane Velma” for the way she managed to get things done, and to get her way.

The speakers included Boise mayor Dave Bieter, Boise State University president Bob Kustra, Treasure Valley YMCA CEO Jim Everett and family members.

The program finished with Mitchell’s performance of what was the theme song of the Morrison Center building campaign — “The Impossible Dream,” “I’ve Grown Accustomed to Her Face” from “My Fair Lady” and “What a Wonderful World.”

There was not a dry eye in the house.

Posted in ArtsBeat