Since the very beginning of my journey in the world of roofing I have encountered a small number of individuals who have, for one reason or another, made an indelible imprint on my life. Last week I received notice that one such individual had passed away; Morris Swope, founder of Tampa Roofing Co. Inc., Tampa, Fla. 

Here is the notice:

March 28, 2019 – from Lisa Pate, Executive Director, FRSA:

It is with a heavy heart that I inform you of the passing of Morris Swope, Tampa Roofing Co. Inc. Morris was an FRSA Life Member, Campanella Award Recipient, Past President and Certified Professional Roofing Contractor (CPRC). He was father to Keith Swope, CPRC, Past President, Life Member and Campanella Award Recipient, and grandfather to Brian Swope, CPRC, FRSA President Elect. Morris was a unique individual who was well known throughout the roofing industry – from his local Affiliate, WCRCA, to the national level where he served as an officer at the NRCA. He was heavily involved in the Florida codes arena, helping develop codes for the Southern Building Code Congress International (SBCCI), through the Florida Building code and was respected for his code knowledge and gentle manner. Morris was instrumental in pushing for the state to develop the Florida roofing licensing test for roofing contractors and received the first roofing license issued. He was the epitome of a Southern Gentleman and will be deeply missed.

My memory of Morris is of the many discussions we had that were frequently off the topic of either the equipment I was trying to sell him or his passionate advocacy of the roofing industry. We talked about those things, but I was so keen to learn from Morris that I tended to seek his counsel on just about anything that was on my mind. And he was seldom shy about sharing what was on his mind. There were few limits, but being a decent and honorable and thoughtful man, he did not stray far from business or family topics.

The times I made regular visits to Morris in his Tampa office were relatively few; during less than a quarter of the time I have spent in the roofing industry. But I saw him at state and national roofing events off and on up until just a year or two ago. Whenever I saw Morris I could always count on a warm greeting and a good conversation.

For me, there were never enough of those times. I will treasure the memory of those encounters, and I will miss my good friend, Morris Swope.