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St. Paul Hospitality Leader Bill Morrissey Dies at 61

Bill Morrissey, pictured here inside the St. Paul Grill in February 2014, died April 25 at the age of 61.

Bill Morrissey, founder and president of the hospitality company that operates properties such as the Saint Paul Hotel and Pazzaluna Urban Italian, died Monday, April 25, at the age of 61 after a battle with leukemia.

Before founding St. Paul-based Morrissey Hospitality Companies in 1995, Morrissey had been everything from a dishwasher and bellman to a convention coordinator and general manager at notable properties including Radisson and Hyatt. He found his way back to the Saint Paul Hotel after a stint there in the late ‘80s and helped develop what is now one of the most acclaimed restaurants in the Twin Cities: the St. Paul Grill. The Grill, along with Pazzaluna, Tria Restaurant, M St. Café, Headwaters Café, and Kendall’s Tavern & Chophouse are now under the company’s management umbrella.

Bill Morrissey built MHC into a strong and growing organization that is known throughout Minnesota and the Midwest for its sense of purpose and focus on exceptional service and authentic hospitality. Under his leadership, MHC has provided hospitality consulting and management services to many different brands in Minnesota, Illinois, Iowa, Wisconsin and Kansas.

After serving three years in the U.S. Army, Morrissey graduated from the University of Minnesota and spent his entire career in hospitality. He was active in the hospitality community, serving as chairman of the boards of the Minnesota Lodging Association, Hospitality Minnesota, Historic Hotels of America and twice for the St. Paul Convention and Visitors Bureau. He also served on the board for the American Hotel and Lodging Association, the National Trust for Historic Preservation, St. Paul Chamber of Commerce, the Minnesota Chamber of Commerce, Meet Minneapolis and Explore Minnesota.

Morrissey was known for his commitment to philanthropy and giving back to the community.

“No words can properly express our sadness at Bill’s passing or our gratitude for the opportunity to know him and work with him,” said MHC in a statement. “Bill was a true leader and visionary who touched and improved the lives of so many people as he built a strong and sustainable company. We will honor Bill’s memory by dedicating ourselves to continuing the work he loved so much—creating exceptional memories and experiences for every person who visits one of our hotels, restaurants or venues.” 

Born in Bloomington, Minnesota, Morrissey lived in Eagan since 1985. He was preceded in death by his wife, Mary Jo. He is survived by his children Arthur, Christopher and Elizabeth, and many other relatives and friends.

A visitation for Morrissey will take place Thursday, April 28, from 4-8 pm at O’Halloran Funeral Home in St. Paul. Funeral services will be Friday, April 29, at 11 a.m. at Holy Spirit Catholic Church in St Paul. Memorial gifts in Bill’s memory can be made to the Hospitality Minnesota Education Fund or online here.

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