Learn our story, from the beginning and into the future.
Ever since we opened our doors we have approached life (and death) differently. While some just see the end of a loved one’s life as a time for grief and mourning, we prefer to think of it as a time for reflection, appreciation and even celebration. This is evident in everything we do, from the way we conduct our services to the amenities we choose to offer. We are not a burial ground. We are a close knit community dedicated to honoring, sharing and preserving the amazing and inspirational stories that are life.
In a nutshell? Experience, professionalism, compassion, and empathy.
We've learned a lot over many years. Like how to present options without overwhelming. And how to meet the needs of many caring parties. People come to us in difficult times, and we respond kindness, calmness and expertise. Our goal is to create a beautiful occasion and make you feel welcome, always. We spend our days planning with families. We stay up to date with industry developments. And we make hard times a little easier.
The History of a Virginia Legacy
James Tolleison Morriss II’s family emigrated from Wales to America, settling in Charles City County, Virginia, where he was born in 1830. Upon his 18th birthday, the enterprising young man crossed the James River into the thriving city of Petersburg, where he began an eight-year apprenticeship with a successful furniture and undertaking business. In 1856, taking what he learned as an apprentice, Morriss launched J.T. Morriss & Co. on Bollingbrook Street in downtown Petersburg. Little did he know that his new furniture and undertaking establishment would become a Virginia legacy, and that his reputation for fairness and honesty would be handed down through four generations.
In no time at all, J.T. Morriss & Co. was thriving. And after just five years, at the onset of the Civil War, his casket and embalming services proved invaluable to the thousands of local families of Civil War casualties, as well as other families in their times of need. He was on call all day, every day and even purchased an ad in a Petersburg paper that listed his home address, so he could always be reached in this age before telephones.
Over the years Morriss’ business thrived and grew, forcing him to relocate to a larger building on Sycamore Street. In April of 1871, a fire ravaged his workshop in the rear of the building. Miraculously, the fire did not spread to Morriss’ warehouse, which contained the majority of his inventory. After the smoke settled, his business continued to grow, once again necessitating him to relocate to a larger building a few blocks down Sycamore Street.
Due to public demand and his great success as an undertaker, he sold the furniture part of his business in 1880, allowing him to focus solely on funeral work. A few years later he moved his location yet again to a new, larger location at 69 Sycamore Street.
In 1890, after 42 years of dedicated service, James Tolleison Morriss II passed away. His youngest son, Charles L. Morriss, took over the family business. Over the next two decades many advancements were accomplished in the funeral industry. Morriss, though deeply rooted in tradition, kept up with the changes and offered families the most modern of conveniences available at the time, all the while upholding his family’s reputation for honesty and fairness.
He moved and expanded the business again, this time to the corner of Sycamore and Washington streets. Under Charles Morriss’ reign, the business was incorporated in 1924 as J.T. Morriss & Son, Inc. and was staffed with a team of compassionate individuals that shared Morriss’ goals and virtues.
Unfortunately, Charles Morriss passed away a few months before the J.T. Morriss & Son’s current location was completed on the corner of Wythe and Adams streets in downtown Petersburg. His son, J.T. Morriss IV, took over the responsibility of running the nearly century-old family business. After his father's death, James “Jay” Tolleison Morriss V, managed to grow the business to have many chapels throughout the tri-cities area. In January of 2008 J.T. Morriss V passed away leaving the legacy to his only son. Today, J. “Tolleison” Morriss VI is at the helm of Central Virginia’s premier funeral home, with chapels in Chester, Hopewell, Petersburg, and Dinwiddie. As a member of the sixth generation of the Morriss family, Tolleison continues to run the business in the tradition of fairness and respectability that J.T. Morriss II began 150 years ago. Always working hard to keep up with the latest advancements in the funeral industry while continuing the family tradition of a commitment to fairness and compassion.
Who We Are
Meet our staff. Members of the local community make everything that happens possible.
Together, we make this place amazing.
J. Tolleison Morriss VIRead Bio
Tolleison was born and raised in Petersburg, Virginia, and has been working with J.T. Morriss & Son since 1997. Tolleison is a graduate of Penn State University (Class of 97), and received his funeral service degree from John Tyler and was licensed in 1999. Tolleison is married to his wife Angie and has a daughter, Kenley and a son, J.T. When he is not leading J.T. Morriss & Son, Tolleison enjoys spending time with his family, helping out with little league sports, attending sporting events and playing golf when he can. Tolleison is a proud member of St. John’s Episcopal Church in Chester, Petersburg Rotary. He also serves as a board member of Historic Hopewell Foundation, Blandford Cemetery Foundation, Southside Virginia Emergency Crew, Petersburg Chamber of Commerce and the Cameron Foundation.
Jonathan TerryRead Bio
Jonathan was born in Greensboro, North Carolina and moved to Hopewell, Virginia when he was three years old. Jonathan has been a member of the J.T. Morriss & Son staff since 2010. He is a graduate of Hopewell High School, received his degree in funeral service from John Tyler Community College, and in 2004 became a licensed funeral director. Jonathan is married to his wife Tina and has four daughters, Jordan, Amanda, Mariah and Rebecca. When not working at J.T. Morriss & Son, Jonathan enjoys four wheeling, hunting, fishing, spending time with the family, swimming, and playing softball with the girls. He is a proud member of the Hopewell Optimist Club and Beacon Hill Church. Jonathan also served as a volunteer firefighter with Prince George County fire services for several years.
Tommy PetersRead Bio
Tommy is a lifelong resident of Dinwiddie County. After graduating from Dinwiddie County High School, he attended Richard Bland College and graduated from John Tyler Community College. Tommy joined the J.T. Morriss & Son staff in 1994 and considers it an honor to represent one of the oldest family owned funeral homes in Virginia. He is a member of Ocran United Methodist Church, and is active in various civic and fraternal organizations, including Sutherland Ruritan Club and Dinwiddie Masonic Lodge No. 136. Tommy has two sons, Thomas and Nicholas, who are his pride and joy. He enjoys a variety of outdoor activities, but most of all, attending his sons’ baseball and soccer games.
Charles W. Andrews JR.Read Bio
Charlie is a lifelong resident of Petersburg, Virginia and has been a member of the J.T. Morriss & Son staff since 1960. Charlie is a graduate of Petersburg High School and went on to continue his education at Chowan University and Cincinnati College of Mortuary Science. He has been a licensed funeral director since 1967. Charlie is married to Judy Andrews and has a son, Cliff and two grandchildren, Sawyer and Sky. When not working with J.T. Morriss & Son Charlie enjoys boating and fishing, and is a proud member of Blandford Lodge No.3 A.F. & A.M., Dearing-Beauregard SCV Camp No. 1813, Cockade Rifles of Petersburg, Virginia and the Fraternal Order of Eagles, Aerie 882, Petersburg, Virginia.
Clinton Billings Jr.Read Bio
Clinton is a native of Chester, Virginia and has been a member of the J.T. Morriss & Son staff since November of 2010. Clinton is a graduate of Richard Bland College and John Tyler Community College. He received his funeral service license in 2012. Clinton is a member of the Kiwanis Club of Chester. During his time away from J.T. Morriss & Son he enjoys spending time with family and friends as well as fishing, sports and anything outdoors.
Mike BolteRead Bio
Mike grew up in Warren, Connecticut and moved to Virginia in 1999. In 2005 Mike joined the staff of J.T. Morriss & Son. After completing the Mortuary Science Program at John Tyler Community College, Mike became a licensed funeral director in 2007. Prior to coming to J.T. Morriss & Son, Mike served eight years in the U.S. Army as a Mortuary Affairs Specialist. He and his wife, Tamara, have two children, Ethan and Savannah and it is with his family that Mike finds his greatest enjoyments. In addition, Mike is also a proud member of the VFW.
Michael CochranRead Bio
Mike was born in Rockbridge County, VA and graduated from Buffalo Gap High School in 2001. Mike has been a member of J.T. Morriss & Son staff since 2014. After relocating to the Richmond area he graduated with a degree in funeral service from John Tyler Community College, and in 2007 became a licensed funeral director. Mike is married to his wife Lauren and has four children, Owen, Ryleigh, Cullen, and Romie Caswell Cochran. When not in the office Mike enjoys spending time with his family, hunting, fishing and coaching football. Mike has been a member of several civic organizations throughout his career as well as a member of the Virginia Historical Society.
Curtis N. CraftRead Bio
Curtis was born and raised in Wise County, Virginia. After graduating from high school he left the area and began his career as a funeral service apprentice with J.T. Morriss & Son in 1958. In 1961 Curtis completed his studies at The Cincinnati College of Mortuary Science and became a licensed Funeral Director later that same year. Several years later, he relocated to Northern Virginia but returned to J.T. Morriss & Son in 1988 and has been helping to serve their clients and the community ever since. Curtis resides in Dundas, Virginia and has enjoyed a long working relationship with J.T. Morriss & Son. He is married to the former Barbara Ann Hawthorne, and they have one son. In his spare time Curtis enjoys photography and golf. For several years, Curtis was an active volunteer on the Kenbridge Emergency Squad. He and his son Christopher are the first father-son life members of this squad.
Spencer V. Perkins Jr.Read Bio
Spencer is a lifelong resident of Petersburg, Virginia and has been working with J.T. Morriss & Son since 1962. Spencer is a graduate of Petersburg High School and went on to continue his education at Randolph-Macon College and the Cincinnati College of Mortuary Science. He has been a licensed funeral director since 1964. Spencer is married to Pat Perkins and has two sons, Mark & Spencer III. When not working with J.T. Morriss & Son, Spencer enjoys spending time with family and friends. He is a proud member of St. Marks United Methodist Church and the Lions Club of Petersburg.
Brandon WoodyRead Bio
Born and raised in Colonial Heights, VA, Brandon is a graduate of Colonial Heights High School and John Tyler Community College. He joined the J.T. Morriss & Son staff in February of 2010 and is a Licensed Funeral Director. Brandon currently resides in Dinwiddie County with his wife, Maggie Vaughan Woody, a lifelong resident of Dinwiddie. They have one daughter, Kensington Brooke Woody. Brandon is a member and Past President of the Dinwiddie Ruritan Club. He enjoys spending time with his family, fishing, and playing golf.
Dr. Ivan PerkinsonRead Bio
Dr. Ivan W. Perkinson has served as Aftercare Director for J T Morriss & Son since 2003. A native of Richmond and long time resident of Matoaca, Ivan earned two marketing degrees from Virginia Commonwealth University and two ministry degrees from the Southern Baptist Centre for Biblical Studies. He retired twice, first as a professional speaker and marketing consultant and then as founding pastor of Matoaca Christian Fellowship. Married to his wife Peggy for 55 years, they have 3 children, 9 grandchildren and 12 great grandchildren. When not helping families with the maze of paperwork and procedures necessary to settle the estate of the deceased, Ivan is also a professional artist. Some of his original paintings hang in the chapels of J T Morriss & Son.
Janae RameyRead Bio
Janae is a lifelong resident of Chesterfield County and graduate of Thomas Dale High School. She has been with J.T. Morriss since 2002. When not helping out at J.T. Morriss & Son Janae enjoys time with her friends as well as reading and working on crafts.
Neely O'KeefeRead Bio
Neely was born and raised in Dinwiddie County, Virginia. After graduating Dinwiddie County High School in 1995, she attended Virginia Commonwealth University. Neely joined the J.T. Morriss & Son staff in 2014. She is the busy mother of three boys, Jett, J.J. and Declan. She has been a long time soccer coach for her sons, and many others, with the Dinwiddie County Department of Parks and Recreation. Neely enjoys running with her sisters, going to concerts, and traveling with her boys.
Renee BestRead Bio
Renee was born and raised in Hopewell, VA. After graduating high school, she attended Hairstylist University in Hopewell, VA and became a licensed hair stylist in 1982. Her involvement with the funeral service business began as an on-call hairstylist in 1991. Renee has over 17 years of funeral service experience and has been a member of the J.T. Morriss & Son staff since 2015. She has been married for 35 years to Kevin Best and has three daughters and three grandchildren. Renee enjoys spending time with her grandchildren, going to the beach, and shopping with friends and family.
Jyoti TownsleyRead Bio
Jyoti is a resident of Dinwiddie County and a 2007 graduate of Dinwiddie County High School. She is currently attending Saint Leo University. She joined the J.T. Morriss & Son staff in 2017. A member of The Heights Baptist Church, Jyoti enjoys quality time with family, friends, and her dogs.
Patsy LevensonRead Bio
Patsy grew up in Disputanta, VA and is a lifelong resident of the area. She has been a member of the J.T. Morriss & Son staff for 30 years. She has a daughter, Amy, and three very special grandchildren. Patsy loves time spent with her family and friends, especially her grandchildren.
George Brewer IIIRead Bio
George grew up in Dinwiddie, Virginia, and has been working with J.T. Morriss & Son since 2001 after serving his community as a member of Petersburg, Virginia’s Fire and EMS team for 27 years. George has three daughters, one son, and four grandchildren. When not working at J.T. Morriss and Son, he enjoys working in his garden, listening to Celtic Women Music, and loves the railroad and trains. George often visits the Virginia Museum of Transportation in Roanoke, Virginia where he has been a member for many years.
Carol KooglerRead Bio
Carol grew up in Chester, VA and graduated from Thomas Dale High School. Her career began with C&P Telephone and she retired from Verizon in 2010. She joined the J.T. Morriss & Son staff in 2014. Carol is engaged to Jay Marks and has one son, Travis Koogler. She has been a member of Chester Baptist Church form 47 years and currently serves on the Finance Committee. Since 2004, Carol has served on the Board of Director for Connects Federal Credit Union, holding various positions. She enjoys spending time with her family and friends, photography, traveling, trips to the beach, boating and gardening.
Pamela AveryRead Bio
Pamela was born and raised in Petersburg, VA and is a graduate of Petersburg High School. She joined the J.T. Morriss & Son staff in 2012. Pamela has two children, Ken Crowder and Heather Motrynczuk, and a granddaughter, Myra Grace Motrynczuk. She serves as Vice-President of Williams Christmas Kids Foundation – a non-profit charitable organization that helps disadvantaged and special needs children during Christmas. Pamela enjoys reading, trips to the beach, traveling, attending plays and musicals, but most of all, spending time with her family and friends, especially her precious Myra Grace.
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