G. MORRIS Dorrance Jr. decided to do it his way.
A scion of the family that founded the Campbell Soup Co. and the son of a prominent surgeon, Morris decided to become a banker.
But he was far from the popular image of a banker. Nothing stuffy or aloof about him. For Morris Dorrance, it was not all about the money. A warmhearted man, he cared about being a force for social betterment.
Back in the bad old days, most banks engaged in the notorious practice of "redlining," meaning they wouldn't lend money to people or businesses in poor neighborhoods.
Morris Dorrance wouldn't stand for that. His bank, Philadelphia National, led the nation in putting a stop to redlining in the '60s.
He was a banker with a heart.
"He cared so much about all his employees," said his son, George Morris Dorrance III. "If he knew they were sick, he'd send cards. When he became president of PNB, he would make the rounds to every branch to shake every employee's hand. And he remembered their names."
G. Morris Dorrance Jr. developed CoreStates Financial Corp., of which PNB was a subsidiary, into one of the nation's leading financial institutions. He was a leader of numerous business, civic and educational organizations, most notably the Fox Chase Cancer Center, of which he was board chairman for 20 years. And he was an Army Air Corps veteran of World War II. Dorrance died Aug. 11 of complications of a stroke. He was 88 and lived in Villanova.
Morris Dorrance led CoreStates for 18 years after starting at PNB in 1951 as an assistant cashier.
Within 12 years of joining PNB, he had moved up to become president, making him, at 40, one of the country's youngest bank presidents. He became chairman and chief executive of PNB in 1969. He retired in 1987. (CoreStates became part of Wells Fargo in 2008.)
Among the banking innovations on Dorrance's watch was the building of the nation's first and largest network of banking machines, the MACs, in the mid-'70s.
Under his leadership in 1985, the company sponsored an annual bicycle race that became a cycling classic, the CoreStates Cycling Championship, which snakes 156 miles through the city, including the challenging "Manayunk Wall." (The race is now sponsored by TD Bank.)
"Cycling was one of the cleanest sports of the day, and Dad saw it as a novel way to brand the name of CoreStates in the region," said his daughter, Middy Dorrance.
A major part of Dorrance's legacy was his enduring leadership of the Fox Chase Cancer Center. He was a board member for 50 years and chairman of the board for 20.
"The Dorrance name is part of the Fox Chase firmament," said Michael V. Seiden, Fox Chase's president and CEO. "He was one of the principal architects of Fox Chase Cancer Center and for decades held fast to our mission of prevailing over cancer - always focused on improving care and research for patients and creating the most vibrant environment for our caregivers and scientists.
"All of us owe so much to the vision, persistence, and purposeful advocacy of Morrie Dorrance."
Morris' late father, prominent surgeon George M. Dorrance, became the first medical director of American Oncologic Hospital, Fox Chase's clinical arm, when his son was a child.
Morris grew up on Delancey Street in Center City, a few doors down from his future wife, Mary Carter. They shared a birthday, Dec. 28, and were married in 1946. She died in 2000.
They maintained a home in Exuma, a remote island of the Bahamas.
"His love for this island lasted a lifetime despite constant need for fixing everything from the water- catchment system to his bright-orange Volkswagen 'Thing,' " said his son.
He enjoyed snorkeling and sailing there. He also liked vacationing and boating in Northeast Harbor, Maine.
Morris was a trustee of his alma mater, the University of Pennsylvania (class of 1949), the Eisenhower Fellowship, Agnes Irwin School, Business Leaders Organized for Catholic Schools, the Free Library, Philadelphia Industrial Development Corp. and the Exuma Foundation.
He also served as chairman of the Philadelphia Visitors and Convention Center.
Morris was also a member of the Gulph Mills Golf Club, Pine Valley Golf Club, Merion Cricket Club, The Rabbit, the Racquet Club and the Philadelphia Club. He was governor of the Schuylkill Fishing Co. of Pennsylvania, also known as the State in Schuylkill, the oldest social club in the U.S.
Among corporate boards of which he was a member were R.R. Donnelley & Co., Rohm & Haas, Kewanee Oil Co., Philadelphia Contributionship, Provident Mutual Insurance Co., Penn Virginia Corp., Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia and the board of governors of the Federal Reserve.
Besides his son and daughter, he is survived by two grandchildren.
Services: Memorial service will be held at the Church of the Redeemer in Bryn Mawr in late September. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to the Fox Chase Cancer Center, 333 Cottman Ave., Philadelphia, 19111, or to the Exuma Foundation Ltd., Box Ex 29111, George Town, Exuma, Bahamas.