St. Paul hotel and restaurant businessman Bill Morrissey dies

Bill Morrissey, a hotelier, restaurateur and downtown St. Paul cheerleader, has died. He was 61.

His son said on a Caring Bridge site that Morrissey died Monday after fighting cancer.

He spent a career working in the hospitality industry.

In 1995, while working as the general manager for the St. Paul Hotel, Morrissey started Morrissey Hospitality. The company operates the St. Paul Hotel and runs several Twin Cities hotels and restaurants. It has more than 1,200 employees.

Friends say he was gregarious and kind.

"He enjoyed life. He took his business seriously but he didn't take himself seriously, he wasn't pretentious," said Morrissey's friend Kris Taylor, who's vice president of communications at Ecolab. "He was really just a hardworking, genuine person who cared about others."

Taylor said he was proud of the business he built and his work in St. Paul.

Matt Kramer, the president of the St. Paul Area Chamber of Commerce, remembered when he took the chamber job, Morrissey was one of the first business owners to reach out to him. Kramer remembers being struck by Morrissey's dedication to the city.

"He just kept thinking about the St. Paul Hotel, Pazzaluna, the St. Paul Grill, at the time the work he did at the RiverCentre and how he saw it all not just as a business, but an investment in St. Paul," Kramer said. "He's going to be very much missed."

Morrissey served on several boards, including the Minnesota Chamber of Commerce and Meet Minneapolis.

A visitation for Morrissey will take place Thursday from 4 to 8 p.m. at O'Halloran Funeral Home, with a funeral Friday at 11 a.m. at Holy Spirit Catholic Church in St. Paul.

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