Landscape industry visionary George Morrell passed away October 16, 2012, in Naples Fla. He had been battling Chronic Lymphocytic Leukemia for 20 years.
Morrell graduated from Matawan Regional High School in New Jersey in 1964. An active athlete and star football player, he enjoyed baseball and football until a knee injury kept him from playing his senior year. He earned his Master’s degree in Horticulture from Clemson University, and subsequently moved to the Atlanta area to start his career in the landscaping industry.
In 1984, Morrell co-founded the Metro Atlanta Landscape and Turf Association (MALTA), which became the Urban Ag Council in 2011. In 1989, Morrell formed The Morrell Group, Inc., with five divisions across the Atlanta area. Morrell’s company was sold to Omni Facility Services in 1999, which was in turn acquired by ValleyCrest Companies in 2004, where he served as Vice President until his retirement.
Morrell was very involved in mentoring and charitable organizations, including the Ronald McDonald House Charities. His health was very important to him, and he was an inspiration to many during his battle with cancer.
“He was really big on ‘You are what you eat,’ and he was fanatical about working out and having the beautiful bod,” said longtime friend and industry colleague Dick Bare, CEO of Arbor-Nomics Turf, Inc. “Nobody could talk about George without talking about his health. He got that cancer, and he battled that for 20 years. That was a huge battle, and that was his primary concern, beating it.”
Morrell also inspired peers in the industry with the way he ran his business.
“He was very, very ethical,” Bare said. “He looked at the big picture with morality and he was very humble. He was a real born manager, with the way he thought and really into doing a first-class job. He wanted to grow by people going out and just getting their socks knocked off by the way they did the job. And he talked about tracking every molecule in a business – looking at it and examining every tiny little facet of your company, and saying, ‘Is this the best way?’”