Educator Morris Shawkey died on February 6, 1941, at age 72. The Pennsylvania native came to West Virginia in 1895 to teach education at West Virginia Wesleyan.
In 1906, he became superintendent of Kanawha County schools and, in 1909, began three terms as state superintendent of free schools. During this time, he launched a program to build new high schools and junior highs, establish libraries in each school, consolidate schools, bus students, and upgrade teacher standards. Under his leadership, 125 new high schools were built in the state between 1909 and 1921.