The Reverend Martha "Marty" Morrison
The Reverend Martha "Marty" Morrison
Let us remember with thanksgiving the life and ministry of Rev. Martha “Marty” Virginia Morrison, 92, of Concord, MA who passed away on Tuesday, June 27, 2023 with her family around her at the Care Dimensions Hospice House of Lincoln, MA.
Born in Charleston, West Virginia on April 6, 1931, Martha or Marty as she was known, was raised primarily by her mother, Clyde Bailey, a registered nurse, as her father, Estel, was killed in a motorway accident when Marty was 6 years old. As a young girl, Marty became interested in the local Methodist Church and asked her mother to start taking her to Sunday school. Although no one in her family was particularly interested in going to church, Marty was inspired and went each week. This would be the start of a lifelong journey in the church.
Marty graduated from Stonewall Jackson High School in 1949 and then worked a few years before attending Taylor University in Upland, Indiana where she obtained two Bachelor's degrees: one in Religion and one in Education, Grades 1-12. Marty played basketball in both high school and college and was an accomplished forward. While in college she married Frederick Morrison, whom she met one summer as a camp counselor. While driving with Fred to their wedding, Marty hit some ice on the New York Thruway and flipped the vehicle, rolling it down a bank. They both managed to climb out unharmed, got a ride to a nearby bus terminal, and took a Greyhound to Charleston, WV where they wed. After their wedding adventure, the newlyweds moved to Woodstock, Vermont where Marty taught Physical Education at the Woodstock High School.
Marty spent the next phase of her life being a wife and mom of three children and several household pets: dogs, cats, gerbils, guinea pigs, and a boa constrictor. The family moved to Meriden, Connecticut to a kid-filled, boisterous, suburban neighborhood. While in Meriden, Marty became involved and devoted to civic organizations that prioritized education and women's rights. She administered the Head Start Program of Meriden; she was an active member of the League of Women Voters where she would make meaningful, lifelong friendships. During the summers the family would go camping at campgrounds around New England and also take longer trips to Charleston, WV or to Pennsylvania to see relatives.
While most of the family were avid skiers, Marty would gruel through a couple of runs pretending that she was enjoying winter before sneaking off to the lodge so she could sit by the fire and happily read her novel for the day. While many family trips involved recreating, Marty most enjoyed the trips to New York City where the family would explore the city, see a play, find an ethnic restaurant, and most of the time get talked into going to a baseball game. She loved the city's chaos.
When Marty was 45 years old, she started seminary at the Yale University Divinity School where she obtained a Doctorate of Ministry Degree. Marty was ordained Deacon in 1979 and Full Elder in 1981. Marty served Brooklyn: Sheepshead Bay UMC and Manhattan: Washington Square UMC. She was the District Superintendent of the Hudson East District of NYAC from 1988 to1995. After her tenure as DS she served as interim pastor at Norwalk UMC and Staten Island: Faith UMC. Marty retired in 1996. In retirement she served as interim Superintendent if the Delaware Hudson District and pastor at Tarrytown.
During her time as District Superintendent Marty started working on global, ecumenical projects which involved traveling overseas to areas of the world such as Haiti, the Dominican Republic, Bolivia, Nigeria, Sierra Leone, Ghana, Hong Kong, and China. While in Poughkeepsie, Marty started a later life hobby of painting with watercolors and showed talent while exploring different techniques. Marty also hosted countless holiday gatherings for her children and grandchildren in her welcoming home.
After Marty retired from the ministry, she enjoyed a number of years living at Newbury Court, in Concord, Massachusetts, an independent living facility, where she developed many strong relationships within the community that provided an outpouring of support and compassion in her last months and weeks. Marty also enjoyed attending worship services at the Duvall Chapel at Newbury Court and Saint Matthews United Methodist Church in Acton, MA.
Marty is survived by her daughter, Leslie, her son, Scott, Scott's partner Kate, her grandchildren: Race, Bailey, Emma, and Peter, her great-granddaughter: Ayla, and several nieces and nephews. Marty was predeceased by her son, Gregg, her parents, and her brothers, Raymond and Harold.
Family and friends are invited to attend a celebration of life at the Duvall Chapel at Newbury Court, 80 Deaconess Road, Concord, MA on Saturday, August 12, 2023 at 10:30 am.
In lieu of flowers, donations may be made in her honor to the Southern Poverty Law Center, PO Box 5632, Montgomery, AL 36177-7459.