(UMNS - Jan. 14, 2016) -- Retired United Methodist Bishop William Wesley “Bill” Morris died Thursday morning, Jan. 14, having suffered a massive heart attack at home, the Tennessee Conference reported.
Morris, who was 78, led the Alabama-West Florida Episcopal Area from 1992 to 2000. He was the first African American to hold that post, and made news in 1998 when he was among the clergy officiating at the funeral of George Wallace, who had by then often apologized for defending segregation as Alabama’s governor.
Morris also oversaw the Nashville Episcopal Area, comprising the Tennessee and Memphis Conferences. He retired from the episcopacy in 2004.
Morris was ordained a deacon in 1959 and an elder in 1961. He served Bethany Methodist Church and Union Avenue Community Methodist Church in Chicago; Stanley Methodist Church in Chattanooga, Tennessee; John Wesley United Methodist Church in Nashville; and First United Methodist Church in Gallatin, Tennessee.