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'Bay View original' left her mark on neighborhood

Mary Morris known for educational, community activism

June 28, 2007

Mary Jo Morris was supposed to be the marshal in this year's Humboldt Park Fourth of July parade, an honor recognizing her years of community service to Bay View.

However, Morris died of a blood clot June 20 at St. Luke's Hospital at the age of 69 after a courageous battle with pancreatic cancer.

"Bay View will not be the same without Mary Morris," said Kathy Mulvey of the South Shore Park Watch as she stood near the information booth at the South Shore Farmers' Market. Morris tended the booth as a volunteer almost every Saturday during the summer.

Known for her activism, Morris was a fixture at meetings of volunteer organizations and at town hall gatherings in Bay View.

"She always stood up for what she felt was right," Mulvey said. "She didn't mince words."

Nor did she sit contentedly on the sidelines when she saw something that needed action.

"She didn't say, 'Why doesn't somebody do it?' She just did it," Mulvey said. "Mary is a Bay View original."

Long after her five daughters had grown up and graduated from school, Morris remained active in the local and Milwaukee City Council PTA/parent-teacher-student association. She recently attended a state PTA meeting with Penny Manke of South Milwaukee.

"Mary had a strong, powerful presence and she was all for the kids," said John Manke. "One of her last projects was trying to keep Trowbridge (Elementary School) open."

He noted Morris was active in the PTA for more than 45 years and devoted time to the Girl Scouts as well. She was a guiding force in the South Side Scholarship Foundation.

Morris's work was well known at the Beulah Brinton Community Center, where she chaired the center's Advisory Council. On May 20, she received the Beulah Brinton Community Center's Mary Martinetto Community Service Award for her many years of volunteer service.

She also was a member of the Bay View Historical Society.

"Her involvement was open; her influence was everywhere," John Manke said.

Mary Jo Morris (nee Lambert) was the wife of the late James E. Harling and the late Harry Morris. She was the mother of state Rep. Christine (Michael) Sinicki, Julie (Paul) Buckholt, Pamela (Warner) Garlock, Stephanie Harling and the late Lora (Robert) Lawler; the sister of James Lambert and the late George Lambert, and sister-in-law of Jacqueline Chenier. She also is survived by 11 grandchildren, nieces, nephews and other relatives and friends.

The family suggests memorials to the South Side Scholarship Foundation and Myasthenia Gravis Foundation.

Nan Bialek can be reached at (262) 446-6632 or amuehlbauer@cninow.com.

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