'It was a beautiful service, my dad would have loved it': Bob Morrow's son

On Saturday a celebration of life service was held for Hamilton's longest-serving mayor, Bob Morrow, who died Feb. 4.

A celebration of life was held Saturday for former Hamilton mayor Bob Morrow who died Feb. 4

On Saturday a celebration of life was held for former Hamilton mayor, Bob Morrow who died at the age of 71. Morrow is Hamilton's longest-serving mayor. (Laura Clementson/CBC)

Members of the public gathered Saturday to pay their respects to Bob Morrow, Hamilton's longest-serving mayor.

A celebration of life was held Saturday at Christ Church Cathedral on James Street North at 1 p.m.

The service followed a visitation on Thursday and Friday in the church sanctuary at 252 James St. N.

Morrow was mayor of Hamilton from 1982 to 2000, and was first elected to council in 1970. He died Feb. 4 at age 71 after a year of health challenges.

Following opening prayers, remembrances were made by Hamilton Mayor Fred Eisenberger, award-winning actor, Eugene Levy and Coun. Terry Whitehead.

Remembering Morrow's legacy

Eisenberger was the first to speak. He shared with mourners some of the comments that were left in a book of condolences that was placed in front of the mayor's office at city hall.

"There were such great heartfelt messages in that book," Eisenberger told CBC News. "That's the kind of legacy that should get remembered, by everyday people coming forward and saying, here's what I thought about what you did."

After the service, Eisenberger gave the book to Morrow's two sons, Kerr and George.

Levy shared a couple of stories, including how he first met Morrow in the fall of 1960 in secondary school through music.

"This guy had more of a sense of fun about him than I ever would have thought. He loved to laugh," said Levy. "Those rehearsals seemed to cement our friendship." 

"I will, along with all of you, miss Bob terribly. He was one of the truly good people in my life and I was so proud of what he accomplished in his," said Levy.

Whitehead spoke about Morrow's political legacy in Hamilton.

"He became a spokesperson for economic resurgence of the community and promoted a diverse economy," said Whitehead. "Bob was a tenacious supporter for opening up the waterfront, the Lincoln Alexander Expressway and was a staunch opponent of all forms of discrimination."

Asked to describe Morrow in one word, Whitehead told CBC News, "Compassionate." 

A beautiful service

"It was a beautiful service, my dad would have loved it," said Morrow's son, Kerr Morrow.

"I really enjoyed Eugene Levy's words because it's like a side of my dad's life that I know nothing about, [like] learning about crazy things they did as kids."

"I just thought the mayor had really kind words as well as Terry Whitehead — both really good friends of my dad, so it was nice to hear them speak," said Morrow. 

Morrow's nephew, Aubrey Oldham, was among those in attendance.

"I thought it was a lovely service. He would have been really happy with the music selections and just the fact that there were people from all over the city," said Oldham.

Karen Wilson knew Morrow through St. Patrick's Catholic Church — where he was the organist at the parish for 9 years.

"Bob's Kindness" and "the love he showed for our community" brought Wilson to Saturday's service.