Marylyn Jo Morrell
Nov. 22, 1932-May 14, 2023
Submitted by Martha Morrell
Marylyn Morrell, a dedicated advocate for women's empowerment, a beloved wife and mother, loyal friend, and a lifelong learner, passed away on May 14, 2023, at the age of 90. She spent her final months surrounded by her children and grandchildren and, as was her wish, in her beloved home.
Born on November 22, 1932, in La Grange, Illinois to Mabel and Ralph Eck. Marylyn displayed a thirst for knowledge from the very beginning. She excelled at Lyons High School and Kalamazoo College, where she met her husband James (Jim) Morrell during her freshman orientation. She was 17 years old. They were married within 2 years. College was interrupted when she joined him during his military service at Fort Knox, Kentucky for 2 years, where she worked as a typist and assistant to the General. When Jim's service requirement was over, they moved back to Kalamazoo, and Jim took a job at Saga Corporation and Marylyn returned to complete college, carrying her first child on stage to receive her diploma. While Jim continued to advance at Saga, Marylyn went on to receive her master’s degree in psychology at Western Michigan University, where she stayed to teach. Jim's work transfer to Saga headquarters in Menlo Park led Marylyn, Jim and their 2 children to Atherton, California in 1966. She had clearly found her place and remained in the same residence for 57 years.
Marylyn had an unwavering dedication to providing opportunities for women and promoting gender equality. In 1972, she was one of 5 founders of the Resource Center for Women. The mission of the Center was “to serve women who wish to make informed choices about the direction of their lives”. Funded by local corporations and individuals, over two thousand women contacted the center for employment assistance, education programs, counseling, referrals, and access to the center library in its first year. In 1988, the center’s success led to the decision to offer the same services to men, prompting a name change to the Career Action Center.
Marylyn loved literature and the arts. Classical music played throughout the house and throughout the day. She shared her love of opera, ballet and the symphony with her husband and children. She read voraciously-about anything and everything. She aspired to read the New York Times in its entirety each day and was often successful. The Economist, the New Yorker, poetry, the dictionary, local newspapers, documentaries, and lectures by experts were consumed. She also remembered everything she read. She and Jim collected post-war modern art well before it was recognized as an important era in American art. Marylyn and Jim traveled extensively throughout the world, not only for enjoyment, but also to learn the history and culture of their destinations.
Marylyn and Jim had an intense bond throughout their 64 years of marriage. They were fascinated with each other; each very different and always in love. After his passing in 2017, she received solace from the support of her long-time friends and family. She is survived by her daughter Martha (husband Jaime Tenedorio) and her son David (wife Heather Morrell), and her grandchildren, Emily Carson, Sam and Madeline Trinkaus, Teo and Elias Morrell, Daniel and Theodore Tenedorio, by 2 great-grandchildren, Walker James Carson and Julian Tenedorio, and by her sisters, Cynthia Beth and Nancy Williams.
Marylyn will be remembered for her intelligence, sophistication, natural elegance, and life-long beauty, as well as her passion for fairness, justice, truth, and loyalty. She faced significant health events bravely and without self-pity and, until this last event, faced them all down. Her honesty and perspective touched the lives of many. Those who met Marylyn, will not forget her.