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Jim D. Morris retires on oil company sale

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Last edited 2:09 p.m., Aug. 4, 2017

Businessman and philanthropist Jim D. Morris retired following the recent sale of the oil company he founded in 1958.

Morris, 83, closed July 17 on the sale of Morris Oil Co. Inc. to fellow Springfield-based gas station operator Rapid Robert’s Inc. for undisclosed terms, said Morris family attorney Brett Roubal, with Baird Lightner Millsap PC. Through the deal, Rapid Robert’s added Morris Oil’s seven stations in Springfield, Nixa and Branson to its portfolio of 24. At its peak in the 1980s and ‘90s, Morris Oil operated 60 stores selling 50 million gallons annually.

“This is the last piece that needed to happen to fully get him into retirement,” said Roubal, noting Morris was unavailable for comment.

Morris — who experienced a “health scare” a couple years ago but now has recovered, according to Roubal — is known in Springfield for co-founding the Care to Learn nonprofit and for naming-level donations to Boys & Girls Town of Missouri, the Arc of the Ozarks and Missouri State University. Morris also founded Signature Bank, which merged with The Bank before selling to BancorpSouth. Springfield Business Journal honored him in 2008 with its Lifetime Achievement in Business award and in 2011 as a Men of the Year recipient.

The Morris family retained the Morris Properties business, which includes Branson’s Ramada Resort and Conference Center and Dick Clark’s American Bandstand Theatre. Former Morris Oil President Brandon Jenkins, Morris’ grandson, continues to lead the real estate company with plans to expand farther into southwest Missouri, Roubal said.

Rapid Robert’s, led by President and CEO Rob Wilson, Chief Operating Officer Todd Wilson and Chief Financial Officer Sherry Wilson, operates its convenience stores throughout southwest Missouri and in Eureka Springs, Arkansas. Todd Wilson said the company had been eyeing Morris Oil for seven or eight years. Beyond the purchase, the company is rebuilding some of its aging stores but doesn't have any other immediate expansion plans.

"We don't have plans drawn out to expand, but we look at all the opportunities," he said. "We've been buying land around existing sites and rebuilding."

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