My beloved mother-in-law passed away on May 6, 2023. I thought it most appropriate to honor her in the Memorial Day edition of #hacksthenewsletter. An excerpt of her obituary is below; you can find the complete version here: https://www.dawson-wikoff.com/obituaries/Margaret-Helms-Morris?obId=27914787#/obituaryInfo
Margaret Helms Morris was a guiding light, a moral compass and a bedrock of support for her husband of 58 years, three children, ten grandchildren, one great-grandchild, and numerous others in her community.
Margaret was born July 22, 1937, in Union County, North Carolina, to Annie Lee and Roy Samuel Helms, who preceded her in death. She was a dedicated and accomplished student throughout her life, graduating from Harding High School near the top of her class. She simultaneously worked at the local telephone company to help her mother make ends meet.
Thereafter, she pursued a degree in business administration and English at the Women’s College of the University of North Carolina at Greensboro, graduating in 1959. Her wit was matched only by her beauty: Margaret was named the consolidated beauty queen in North Carolina in [enter the year].
That same year she completed her undergraduate degree, Margaret married the love of her life, William H. Morris, Jr., who would be her husband for 58 years until his death in 2017. Bill’s esteemed accomplishments in life were made possible, in part, due to Margaret’s unwavering support and dedication. Margaret’s early career as a teacher and legislative assistant on Capitol Hill allowed “Bill” to pursue and focus on his medical career.
After Bill completed his internship and residency Johns Hopkins University, with the country in the throes of the Vietnam War, he and Margaret departed for the Fort Rucker, Alabama, where Bill served as a pediatrician. There, Margaret gave birth to her first two children, Elizabeth (“Beth”) and William Harold (“Hal”) Morris III.
Later in 1965, Margaret and Bill left Fort Rucker for Munster, Indiana, in 1965, for Bill to establish the Pediatrics Department at the Hammond Clinic. There, they lived for the remainder of their long, impactful lives. There, their third child, Robert (“Bobby”) David Morris was also born.
The old adage, “Behind every great man is a great woman,” aptly describes Margaret Morris.
She transformed every house into a home, ensuring it was a haven of comfort for her family, feeding not only her own but many neighborhood children on most evenings. “I never knew how many were coming to dinner,” she often recanted.
Margaret was determined to give her children the opportunities she was not afforded as a child. They grew up knowing that their mother was their biggest fan. She ushered them to innumerable lessons and performances for their extracurricular activities including music, dance, and sports. She commanded respect and inspired excellence. Whether it was baseball games, swim meets or music recitals, Margaret made sure to be there, cheering them on with unflinching encouragement. The endless hours she spent on their youthful pursuits not only reflected her values but made indelible impressions on their adult lives.
Both of Margaret’s sons, Hal and Bobby, became professional baseball players, with Hal winning a World Series with the Cincinnati Reds in 1990 to the entire family’s delight. Her daughter, Beth, was a competitive swimmer and like her mother, is devoted wife and mother and now grandmother.
Margaret’s life was a tapestry of personal accomplishments woven with her own dreams and determination. Margaret claims to have attended every school board meeting while a Munster parent; she ultimately initiated the gifted and talented program in the Munster School System, impacting gifted and talented children in the district for decades thereafter. Margaret was a long-time member of the Service League of Northwest Indiana, inspiring other family members to treat service and philanthropy as importantly as they do their career. Margaret was keenly aware of those in the community who needed financial help or social assistance; her extensive local, charitable work impacted countless members of the community.
As a true and fierce southern lady, Margaret overcame numerous challenges and obstacles, approaching each one with grace and tenacity. She overcame adversity, drawing upon her own inner strength to provide the best possible life for her family.
Margaret passed away Saturday, May 6, in her daughter and son-in-law’s home, surrounded by love. She was 85. She was preceded in death by her devoted husband, her parents and her brothers, Roy Samuel and Argie. Survivors include: her three children, Beth Sarros (Nick) of Mt. Zion, Illinois, Hal (Alyssa Rapp) Morris of Winnetka, Illinois, and Bobby (Gloria) Morris of St. John, Indiana; her brother-in-law, Robert Morris, of Charlotte, North Carolina; ten grandchildren and one great grandchild – Anthony (Gaby) and Meg Sarros; Luca, Will, J.K, Audrey and Henriette Morris; Gavin Morris, Gina Irwin and Johnny Irwin; and great-grandson Nick Sarros. And her beloved dog, Brick.
Lakeshore Country Club, Glencoe, Illinois, August 2022