Wilma Jean Morris, a Washington, Ark., native who moved to...

Wilma Jean Morris, a Washington, Ark., native who moved to Long Island as a young woman to marry a pioneer in Suffolk politics, raise her own family and still make her own mark helping other families, died of cancer at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center in Manhattan on June 30, 2012. She was 74. Newsday's obituary for Wilma Jean Morris
Credit: Handout

Wilma Jean Morris of Medford prepared a multicolored Easter egg for each of her two daughters and three sons for decades, a tradition that at once showcased her meticulous skill at creating beautiful home decor and demonstrating love and dedication to family.

Her kind touch and professionalism shone through in her compassion and effectiveness as a social worker at the New Interdisciplinary School in Yaphank, where she catered to the needs of parents and their preschoolers for two decades.

Morris, a Washington, Ark., native who moved to Long Island as a young woman to marry a pioneer in Suffolk politics, raise her own family and still make her own mark helping other families, died of cancer Saturday at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center in Manhattan.

She was 74.

"She adored her children," said Deborah S. Morris of Huntington, a daughter and a Newsday reporter. "That was her greatest joy."

At work, Morris had a keen ability to solve problems of parents with acute financial needs.

"She was great," said Helen Wilder, executive director of the New Interdisciplinary School. "Jean's strength was that she worked very well with low-income families making sure that they had food and clothing and shelter, and she provided different resources to help them in any way she could. "

The former Wilma Jean Booker was born Aug. 13, 1937. Her family moved to East St. Louis, Mo., where she finished high school and attended Morgan State College in Baltimore.

During a visit with her sister, Delores, who lived with her husband on what was Mitchel Air Force base in Nassau County, she met Fred H. Morris Jr., an accountant who became deputy controller of Babylon, one of the first African Americans appointed to a post in the town.

The couple married Feb. 4, 1957, and settled in Amityville. They moved to Setauket in 1972. At home, Morris worked homemaking magic.

"She loved to cook and entertain," Deborah Morris said. "She always set the most beautiful holiday tables and dinner party tables. She was very elegant."

She earned a bachelor's degree in social work from the College of Human Services in Manhattan and a master's from Stony Brook University in 1992.

Deborah Morris said her mother, a 40-year member of the Setauket United Methodist Church, was her role model.

"She was able to get done what needed to get done and she had integrity and grace and I really admired that about her. She lived like she believed," she said.

Morris is also survived by another daughter, Karen Shepherd of Snellville, Ga.; three sons, Marvin and Kevin of Medford and Fred III of Stony Brook; two sisters, Dolores Washington of Woodbury, N.J., and Hattie Booker of Chicago; and two grandchildren.

Visitation will be at Michael J. Grant Funeral Home in Coram on Thursday from 2-4 p.m. and 7-9:30 p.m. Funeral services will be Friday at 11 a.m. at Setauket United Methodist Church. Burial will follow at Calverton National Cemetery.

Latest Videos

SUBSCRIBE

Unlimited Digital AccessOnly 25¢for 5 months

ACT NOWSALE ENDS SOON | CANCEL ANYTIME