Texas Sen. Eddie Lucio Jr. of Brownsville said June 3, 2020, at the funeral of Rio Grande Valley native son Bobby Joe Morrow (’58) that he will introduce a resolution in January when the Texas legislature convenes in Austin to honor the Abilene Christian University graduate who won three gold medals in the 1956 Olympic Games in Melbourne, Australia.
The 87th session of the Texas legislature will begin Jan. 12, 2021. Lucio, senator since 1991, will introduce a resolution for the State of Texas to honor Morrow, a 1954 graduate of San Benito High School and 1958 graduate of Abilene Christian.
Morrow died May 30, 2020, at his home in Harlingen at the age of 84.
Lucio’s son, Texas Rep. Eddie Lucio III of Brownsville, and Rep. Stan Lambert of Abilene, Wildcat letterman and ACU graduate who represents Jones, Nolan and Taylor counties, are expected to introduce a joint resolution honoring Morrow in the Texas House.
Sen. Lucio presented a flag to the Morrow family that was flown over the Texas capital in memory of the Olympic champion. Lucio, a former educator and coach of football, basketball, and track and field, also served earlier in the Texas House (1986-90).
Morrow was the son of the late Floyd and Lucille Morrow, cotton and carrot farmers in Cameron County. He won the prestigious Sullivan Award as the top amateur athlete in the U.S., and was named 1956 Sportsman of the Year by Sports Illustrated magazine. He once addressed a joint session of the Texas Senate and House of Representatives and appeared on the cover of Life magazine.
His father, Floyd Morrow, served on ACU’s Board of Trustees from 1956-66.
The funeral service for Morrow was held at Buck Ashcraft Funeral Home in Harlingen, and he was buried near his parents at Restlawn Memorial Park in nearby La Feria. Among those attending the service were Morrow’s three children, ACU alumni and twins Ron Morrow of Arlington and Vicki Morrow Watson of Bonham, and Concordia University-Austin graduate Elizabeth Morrow Kelton of Argyle.
The hearse and funeral procession to the cemetery drove beside and paused at Bobby Morrow Stadium, the home field of the San Benito High School Greyhounds named in honor of Morrow in 2006. He starred in football and track and field while wearing the purple and gold of SBHS.
Orlando Lopez, president of the San Benito CISD Board of Trustees, also honored a “favorite son” of his community at the funeral. He called Morrow “a true San Benito legend.” Lopez’s remarks:
“I come here today humbly representing the educational and athletic community of San Benito. Today we pay our respects and say farewell to a true San Benito legend, Bobby Joe Morrow.
The honorable Mr. Morrow is a true testament to the hope and aspirations of the promise of our youth right here in San Benito. He was one of us. He grew up in the farmlands of San Benito. He wore the mighty purple and gold, and he excelled because he believed in himself, and he believed he could.
Of his many athletic accomplishments, one of the most heartfelt stories I’ve learned about this legend is that despite winning multiple medals and accolades throughout his career, including three Olympic gold medals, he didn’t keep any of them for his own sake. He donated them to others in hopes they would be inspired to pursue their own dreams.
That is the epitome of a legend.
You see, he is one of many trailblazers who have come before you and lived this path so that others might have an opportunity to follow and flourish. Mr. Morrow’s legend will live on – under the Friday night lights of the stadium named in his honor and in the spirit of each and every San Benito student.
Imagine the impossible. And live to achieve it. That is the legacy of Mr. Bobby Morrow that will live on in the hearts and minds of our San Benito community.
To the family of Mr. Morrow, our most sincere condolences. Please know that we will forever honor and recognize his contributions and inspiration to our community.”