Morris Lee Brill Jr.

Published 2:58 pm Tuesday, July 2, 2024

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Morris Lee Brill Jr., 86, passed away Friday, May 17, 2024 in Atlanta.

Morris was born in Ashland, Ala., on May 25, 1937. He grew up moving from town to town in East Tennessee while his father, Morris Senior, constructed towers for the Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA). His family settled in Jackson, Tenn., for his formative years, but he always enjoyed returning to Ashland to visit family. Morris graduated from Jackson High School in May 1955.  During his school years he was active in music – serving as Drum Major, singing with his beautiful tenor voice and skillfully playing piano and trombone. He was a member of multiple honor societies. 

In June 1959, Morris received a double Bachelor of Arts in Biology and Chemistry from Lambuth College in Jackson. While at Lambuth, he was a charter member of Chapel and joined the Kappa Alpha fraternity. Morris then attended two and one-half years of graduate school at the University of Tennessee (Memphis and Knoxville) with the intention of becoming a medical doctor. During this time, he met his future bride, Joycelene Lemmons, who was attending nursing school in Memphis.

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Morris married Joycelene on September 7, 1963 at Macon Christian Church in Memphis and the newlyweds soon moved to Lakeland, Fla., where Morris worked for the Upjohn Pharmaceutical Company. Morris excelled at sales and frequently achieved top sales recognition for his region of Florida. The couple welcomed their first child, Morris Lee III, into the world in September 1965 in Lakeland. They relocated to Tampa, Fla., where their second child, Lori Lynne, was born in March 1968. Morris and Joyce lived in Tampa for more than 35 years during which time Morris was active in their church, Forest Hills United Methodist, served on the Board of Tampa United Methodist Centers, served as a Freemason and owned and operated a plant nursery in Plant City, Fla.

Morris retired and took a job in Dallas, Texas as Vice President of Marketing and Sales for the United Methodist Reporter. After a second retirement, he and Joyce fulfilled their dream of living in the East Tennessee mountains. They lived in Roan Mountain for 26 years where he was active in their church, Magill Memorial Presbyterian, served as an officer of their homeowner’s association and volunteered for the local Citizen’s Club.

Morris loved to travel, be surrounded by family and good friends and was especially fond of his four grandchildren. He was a man of strong faith, amiable disposition and generous spirit.

He was preceded in death by his parents, Morris and Effie Mae Brill of Jackson, Tenn.; his father and mother-in-law, Bob and Marie Lemmons of Collierville, Tenn.; and his brothers-in-law, Danny and Ronnie Lemmons of Cleveland, Tenn. and Ramer, Tenn., respectively. 

Morris is survived by his loving wife of 60 years, Joycelene of Atlanta; his son, Lee of Tampa; his daughter, Lori (David) of Atlanta; his grandchildren, Grace of New York City, Lillian of Jacksonville, Mathewson and Lance of Atlanta; and his brother and sister-in-law, Charlie and Judy Bridges of Nashville; as well as many beloved cousins, nieces and nephews.

A memorial service will be Saturday, September 14, at 11:30 a.m. at Magill Memorial Presbyterian Church in Roan Mountain, Tenn. Memorials can be made to St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital at