Serving the Southern Illinois University community since 1916.

The Daily Egyptian

Serving the Southern Illinois University community since 1916.

The Daily Egyptian

Serving the Southern Illinois University community since 1916.

The Daily Egyptian

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Quatro’s owner, Saluki alum Blake Morrison passes away at 31; Memorial event set for this weekend

Blake+Morrison+%28left%29+and+his+friend+Peter+%28right%29+pose+in+front+of+Quatros+Deep+Pan+Pizza+in+Carbondale%2C+Illinois%2C+February+2023.+Photo+provided+by+Nathan+Colombo.
Blake Morrison (left) and his friend Peter (right) pose in front of Quatro’s Deep Pan Pizza in Carbondale, Illinois, February 2023. Photo provided by Nathan Colombo.

Blake Morrison, owner of the beloved restaurant Quatro’s Deep Pan Pizza in Carbondale, has passed away, the restaurant announced on its Facebook page. He was 31 years old.

[Editor’s note: a previous version of this story stated Morrison was 29. His age was confirmed by his family to be 31.]

“Blake’s proprietorship of Quatro’s is supported by a team of family and friends who will carry this business forward,” the restaurant said in a Facebook post on Thursday afternoon.

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Morrison was found unresponsive on a cruise ship to the Bahamas. He was later pronounced dead by the ship’s doctor.

Quatro’s Deep Pan Pizza also announced that it will remain open despite the tragedy.

“We will share more in the coming days, but at this time, we ask for our community and our customer’s patience. We are open, we appreciate your support, and we will carry on the business to honor Blake’s legacy and fulfill his dreams,” the statement said.

Morrison graduated from Southern Illinois University with a degree in business management. Morrison had been working at Quatro’s Deep Pan Pizza since 2018, and took over from long-time owner Steve Payne in February 2023.

Saluki AdLab at SIU is preparing an “interactive memorial mural” at the building connected to Quatro’s Deep Pan Pizza, which Morrison had owned and planned on turning into a shop. The event will take place on Friday and Saturday from 3-6 p.m. and on Sunday from 12-3 p.m.

[Editor’s note: the Sunday session of the memorial has been canceled, according to the restaurant’s Facebook page.]

Jada Plummer, the operations manager for Saluki AdLab, described Morrison’s dedication to helping out the younger generation at his former school.

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“He told me that since he was an alumni, that’s why he kept the connection when he bought Quatro’s Deep Pan Pizza, because he liked the idea of giving back,” Plummer said. “The short amount of time that I’ve been on the Quatro’s account, Blake has always been available to answer any questions. He’s always been there to support us.”

AdLab worked on the Facebook, Instagram and TikTok accounts for Quatro’s Deep Pan Pizza. Plummer listed the account as her favorite project on the AdLab website.

“We’re hoping to carry out his passion and his legacy with our posting,” Plummer said.

Plummer also described one of AdLab’s projects, a character representing Quatro’s Deep Pan Pizza called “Q-Man,” drawn by AdLab member Blake Selsor. The character will be incorporated into the team’s tribute to Morrison.

“Blake Morrison was very fond of Blake Selsor’s work, so we thought a great tribute to Blake Morrison would be to have Blake Selsor make an illustration of him with Q-Man,” Plummer said.

William Lo, executive director of the Carbondale Chamber of Commerce, said that Morrison’s passing leaves a massive hole in the community.

“I think a lot of businesses struggle to find someone to take over. As a business community, we were excited for him take over and to continue that legacy,” Lo said.

Morrison was described by Lo as an active member of the community and of the Chamber of Commerce. In fact, just before he left Carbondale for the last time, Morrison had made a stop at the chamber office.

While it is unclear who will take over for Morrison as owner of the half-century-old restaurant, Lo believes the people are in place to ensure that things stay running smoothly at Quatro’s Deep Pan Pizza.

“There’s a couple of good managers there, so I’m sure they’ll stay open, business as usual,” Lo said. “They’re still reeling from this as well.”

Many community members flocked to the Facebook post announcing Morrison’s passing to express their support and well wishes.

“I am so deeply sorry. Quatro’s has been ‘my place’ since childhood. Prayers for his family and the business moving forward,” said Facebook user Brooke Wilson Crombar.

William Oakes said, “God bless you Blake. You made a LOT of people very happy over the years.”

News editor Brandyn Wilcoxen can be reached at [email protected] or on Twitter at @BrandynWilcoxen. To stay up to date with all your southern Illinois news, follow the Daily Egyptian on Facebook and Twitter.

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    Michelle R. BauerSep 22, 2023 at 6:33 am

    A tragic loss for the community @ large….my condolences to the family and friends…

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