Mary's Story

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Mary Ellen Morrison, 92, of Elk Rapids and formerly Armada, passed away Wednesday, July 12, 2017 after a long and giving life.
Mary Ellen was the beloved wife to Dr. Robert D. Morrison for nearly 65 years. She was a devoted mother to Adele M. (Conrad) Reiter, of Elk Rapids, Anne (Tim) Morrison Perry, of Traverse City, Dr. Charles E. (Kimberly) Morrison, of Elk Rapids, Jane E. M. (Dr. Bjorn) Steffensen, of Needham, Massachusetts, Nancy K. (James) Moegle, of Armada, and Earl A. Morrison, of Elk Rapids. She was the loving grandmother to Ryan (Kally), Erin (Brett), Scott, Evan, Sarah (Ben), Emily (Brent), Michael, Jacob, Jason, Olivia and Lukas; and cherished great-grandmother to Cole, Abby, Ruby, Ryland and Holden. In addition, she will be missed by her international son, Klas (Gudrun) Ivarsson, of Kullavik, Sweden, who was a high school exchange student with the family. Mary Ellen was the loving sister to Marjorie Covert and Dr. Robert Evans; and aunt of many nieces and nephews with extended families.
Mary Ellen was preceded in death by a brother, Charles Evans.
Born in Richmond on March 6, 1925, Mary Ellen was the daughter of Harry and Dorothy (Weil) Evans. She graduated from Armada High School in 1943 and subsequently earned a bachelor's degree in education from Michigan State University and a master's degree in recreation from the University of Minnesota.
Mary Ellen was a physical education teacher for Greenville and Battle Creek schools. During these early years she enjoyed her summers bicycling across the country, serving as a camp counselor in Maine and working as a waitress at Wequetonsing Resort in Harbor Springs. Mary Ellen was a Rosie the Riveter and worked as a welder in defense manufacturing.
On Aug. 9, 1952 Mary Ellen married the love of her life, Dr. Robert D. Morrison, and together they raised six children and a menagerie of family pets in Armada. The Morrison family spent vacations up north in Elk Rapids, her father-in-law's hometown. In 1990 Mary Ellen and Robert retired to their cottage in Elk Rapids to enjoy the ever-changing views and sunsets on Grand Traverse Bay with their growing family.
Mary Ellen was very involved in her community and with her children's many sports and scout activities. She dedicated her life as a loving wife, mother, grandmother and great-grandmother. Mary Ellen was active in many community groups in Armada and Elk Rapids. The church was a mainstay in her life, and she served her faith as a leader in the Armada Congregational United Church of Christ (UCC). Mary Ellen was president of UCC Women of Michigan. Also, she was a member of the Armada Literary Club, enjoyed playing golf, tending her flower gardens, bird watching, downhill skiing and playing bridge.
Mary Ellen was always ready to discuss world affairs and yesterday's scores by her favorite sports teams. She was a long-standing sports fan, especially supporting the MSU Spartans and Detroit Tigers. In Elk Rapids, Mary Ellen was a member of the Ladies Golf League and volunteered with the Food Pantry and Habitat for Humanity. For years she and Robert were snow birds, spending winters in the milder tropical climate with friends in the River Bend community of Brownville, Texas.
All of her family and friends learned to view the world differently because of her sage advice and wisdom. Mary Ellen served as a role model and shared her enthusiasm for living life to the fullest. She was always ready to remind those around her to eat healthy, exercise regularly, respect each other, recycle and take care of nature. She promoted living peacefully with high morals, stopping to smell the flowers and enjoying a daily gin and tonic.
Family and friends are invited to a celebration of life in Elk Rapids on Thursday, July 27, 2017, at 5 p.m., at the Edward C. Grace Memorial Harbor, Jack Blesma Pavilion, 129 N. Cedar St., Elk Rapids, MI 49629. A second memorial service will be held on Sunday, July 30, 2017, at 1 p.m., at the Armada Congregational United Church of Christ, 73966 S. Fulton St., Armada, MI 48005, with a gathering following at Nancy and Jim Moegle's home, 22729 Prospect St., Armada, MI 48005.
In lieu of flowers, memorials may be contributed to the Armada Congregational United Church of Christ, 73966 S. Fulton St., Armada, MI 48005; or a charity of your choice. Performing a random act of kindness would honor our loved one as well.
Published on July 16, 2017
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