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July 20, 2005

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Publication Date: Wednesday, July 20, 2005

Guest Opinion: Thank you, Jim Morton Guest Opinion: Thank you, Jim Morton (July 20, 2005)

I recently attended a funeral service for James Thomas Morton, who served as the first town counsel for the Town of Portola Valley. He died June 24 at the age of 86.

Jim was a good personal friend -- but, more importantly, a good friend and well remembered by many living in the town. Jim was a critical player that all of us on the organizing committee greatly valued for his experience and sage advice during the tough run-up for the very successful election for incorporation of our new town on June 23, 1964. We celebrated a passing plurality of 81 percent by registered voters. He retired as town counsel after a stroke in 1996 -- a remarkable record of over three decades of dedicated service.

The small Catholic service in Burlingame, where Jim had lived for many years, was attended primarily by family, close friends, and caregivers, several of whom I had met on visits to see Jim. I expressed sympathy on behalf of Jean and myself, and also for many others still living in our town who knew and worked with him with great respect for his experience and sage advice -- often shared with respectful good humor and a twinkle in his eye. I know that many elected and re-elected members of the Town Council, appointees to the Planning Commission, and committees, as well as several members of the town staff and consultants also have fond memories of Jim.

I shared another very sincere sentiment with the family that I feel is definitely true: namely, that all present and future residents of our town, young and old -- including countless visitors from beyond our boundaries who benefit from our schools and churches, enjoy our trails and sports fields, or just view the open space of Windy Hill from afar -- all benefit from his special contribution to help make Portola Valley such an exceptional community to live in and visit.
Bill Lane Portola Valley June 12, 2005

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