Morrisvillle is a small town playing in the big leagues. As far back as colonial times the area that is now Morrisville was home to several important American figures and host to many more. Since that time the areas surrounding Morrisville have grown greatly in population while Morrisville maintained a steady population in it's borough borders. In spite of it's small town status Morrisville has been home to many influential people over the years. Below are just a few of a long list of notable Morrisville people. If you know someone who should be added to this list let us know.
Thomas Stockham was a civic leader, an engineer, an architect, land developer and business leader. He was mayor of Morrisville for sixteen years, and served six terms as Bucks County's member of the Pennsylvania House of Representatives. He was also instrumental in the preservation of Summerseat many years ago. The large building at the corners of Pennsylvania Avenue and Bridge Street is named after Thomas Stockham, and of course if you live on Stockham Avenue now you can put a name with a place.
Our special thanks goes out to Jim Murray. Much of the information on this page comes from Jim's two books, "Morrisville Yesterday and Today" and "Morrisville, Images of America". If you are are unfamiliar with these books please Click Here
Willard Curtin was born and raised in Morrisville. He went on to be a six term member of the U.S. House of Representatives, and founded the well known law office of Curtin and Heefner. He is pictured herein 1962 with three of the original seven astronauts, Alan Sheppard, John Glenn and Gus Grissom.
Jim Lorimer seen here with Arnold Schwartzenegger was a star on the 1943 Morrisville championship football team and long time weight lifter. Through his continued interest in weight training he became a partner of Arnold's in producing international best-built man contest and fitness expositions. Along with Schwartenegger, Jim Lorimer named to the President's Fitness Council.
As was eluded to earlier, Morrisville is a small town with a big punch. In spite of its small size Morrisville was very dominate in sports for many years. In 1955 a bunch of Morrisville youngster took the Morrisville Little League on to become the world champions.
Front row: Skip Foulke, Rich Cominski, Denny Poland, Fran Valeriano and Vince Sawyer
Middle row: Don Pidcock, Tony Cigarron, Jim Wiedenhaefer, Ed Fisher and Leon Okurowski
Back row: coach Don Poland, Tom Kaczar, Vince Straszynski, Dick Hart, Carl (Dusty) Schell and coach Carl Schell Sr.
This picture of some of the remaining teammates was taken at the Little League field at the Island, when they were honored at the Morrisville bicentennial Labor Day picnic. From left to right: Tom Kaczar, Denny Poland, Carl Schell, Jim Wiedenhaefer, Fran Valeriano, Vince Sawyer, Vince Straszynski and Ed Fisher. We are very sad to say Carl Schell has passed on since this picture was taken.
The 1955 Little League World Champions
As far back as the late 1920's Morrisville was a dominate force on the gridiron. Many Morrisville football players went on to play college ball and even professionally. The 1958 team below, went undefeated, beating teams like Pennsbury, Council Rock. The only team they did not beat was Neshaminy, and that game was a tie. It should be noted, some of the guys on the championship Little League team were also on this team.
1958 Morrisville Football Team
A few faces that stick out are, front row # 83 Jim Tanzillo state shot put champion in 1959. Next to him #24 Danny Napoleon went on to a successful baseball career with the New York Mets. In the back row # 81 Dick Hart broke Tanzillo's shot put record in 1960 and 61, He went on the play professional baseball and football. Just behind Hart is the very respected coach Gordon Davies, to his left is asst. coach Dick Lee. Third row right is Jim Gafgen noted artist and sculptor. Back row left is Ron Stockham, Morrisville attorney and grandson of Thomas Stockham. And that looks like Riche Laypo in the middle #85. If recognize other faces in the picture please let us know.
Dick Hart, probably Morrisville's most well know athlete played on the championship Little League team, the championship football team and set the county and state shot put record before turning to sports as a profession. After high school Hart joined the Braves baseball organization. A few years later he left baseball and joined the Philadelphia Eagles playing guard. Hart had quite a successful football career in spite of never playing in college.
And then there were the sports announcers, Dick Burns was a well know radio personality and community activist. Dick Landis grew up on Pennsylvania Avenue and was a lower Bucks high jump champion, and well renowned weight lifter. Dick went on to a long career as a television and radio broadcaster, for CBS sports, ESPN and most recently HBO boxing. Landis has received numerous award throughout years for his contributions to the industry.
These next to guys are both Morrisville modern day heroes. Jim Murray was on Morrisville's championship 1943 football team. He went on to a successful career with Johnson and Johnson in public relations. He was also a well know weight lifter and trainer, and had several books published on the subject. However his two most well known books around town are his two Morrisville history books. The second book "Morrisville Yesterday and Today" is still available for sale at Cunningham's Hardware, Burns Pharmacy, the Squirrel's Nest restaurant and Summerseat. Jim Gafgen was on Morrisville's 1958 championship football team, but he is most well known for his statue of Robert Morris at the corner of Pennsylvania Avenue and Bridge Street. The statue is truly a work of art; next time you are down town, park your car and get out and take a look at this wonderful statue. You will be be proud to share a town with such talented people.
Jack Broderick was a Morrisville native and played a major role in the Morrisville sports scene. Some Morrisville old timers might remember the Cloverleaf Dairy on Pennsylvania Avenue, well you can thank Jack for that. He was also instrumental in the founding of the Morrisville Little League along with Harry Christ and others. But he was probably most well known as a baseball player. Jack played semi-pro on the New Jersey Industrial League and was touted as one of the best catchers in the league. At one point Jack was on the verge of breaking into the major leagues but was unable because of personal commitments.