Grace Muriel Earhart Morrissey
Grace Muriel Earhart Morrissey of West Medford, Massachusetts, died in her sleep Monday, March 2, 1998 at the age of 98. Muriel, as she was known, a life-long resident of Medford, had been house-bound for several years. An educator and civil activist, she participated in many organizations and causes dedicated to helping others.
Muriel Morrissey was born in Kansas City, Kansas on December 29, 1899, only 2 days before the turn of the century. She and her sister, Amelia, were the daughters of Edwin and Amy Earhart of Atchison, Kansas. As children only 2 years apart and growing up in Kansas, they were inseparable, sharing many tomboyish activities, riding horses together, loving animals, and participating in imaginative games.
Muriel was a graduate of Radcliffe and taught English at Medford High School and Belmont High. She was active in politics and community affairs. Her hobbies included gardening and she was a firm believer in a daily walk, rain, sleet, or snow until recent years.
Muriel Morrissey was a charter member of the Medford Zonta Club, a worldwide service organization of executive women in business and the professions, founded in 1919. She served on the School Committee, on the local Conservation Commission and in the 1980s was appointed to the Council on Aging. Muriel was active in the League of Women Voters, a long time member of The Daughters of the American Revolution and a member of the Medford Historical Society. In 1979 she was named "Citizen of the Year" by the Medford Chamber of Commerce and honored for her community participation by American Legion Post No. 45.
During Muriel’s long teaching career, she published numerous articles in professional education magazines. She was a member of the Massachusetts Poetry Society and the author of several poems, including "First Day," "To AE," and "Labor-in Vain No More." In 1976, her "Bicentennial Reverie" received a Freedom Foundation Award. She wrote a poem which was read at the dedication of a new school named for her sister Amelia, and a narrative poem, "By the Gentle Flowing Mystic" as a feature of the celebration of Medford’s 350th anniversary.
In 1963, Muriel wrote a biography of her sister, Courage is the Price. In 1983 she wrote and privately published The Quest of A Prince of Mystic Henry Albert Morrissey "The Chief," the biography of her beloved husband. And on the fiftieth anniversary of her sister Amelia’s disappearance Amelia, My Courageous Sister was first published.
In June, 1929, Muriel married Albert Morrissey, a World War I veteran, who died in 1978. They had two children, David, now deceased, and Amy Morrissey Kleppner of Silver Spring, Maryland.
Grandchildren include James Morrissey of Oakland, CA; Suzanne Morrissey of Nahant, MA; Ellen Looney of Wakefield, MA; Paul Morrissey and Caroline Morrissey of Lynn, MA; Bram Kleppner of Burlington, VT and Caleb Kleppner of Mill Valley, CA.
Services to celebrate the life of Muriel Morrissey were held at Grace Episcopal Church, Medford, Massachusetts.
Carol L. Osborne