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Mabel H. Morris

June 10, 1921- June 18, 2009Mabel Marie Harmon Morris, R.N., M.A. and PhD, honoris causa, a Philadelphia resident for more than 80 years, died June 18, 2009, of natural causes.

Mrs. Morris was born in Chincoteague, Virginia on June 10, 1921, and moved to Philadelphia circa 1929.

In addition to being a loving wife, mother, grandmother and great grandmother, Mrs. Morris immersed herself in her multiple life choices as nurse, caregiver, administrator, teacher, consultant and volunteer during nearly sixty years of public service.

She graduated with honors from Philadelphia High School for Girls in 1938. She began her nursing career in 1943 with a diploma in nursing from Mercy Hospital, School of Nursing in Philadelphia. She received a BSN from the University of Pennsylvania and an M.A. in Public Health Nursing Administration from Teachers College and the School of Public Health at Colombia University. In recognition of her contributions to public health nursing, MCP Hahnemann University conferred upon her the degree of Doctor of Humanities, honoris causa in 1998.

Also, in1998, she was inducted into the Court of Honor for Philadelphia High School for Girls. The Court of Honor was established to celebrate the Sesquicentennial of the school (1848-1998 and induction is the highest honor conferred on GHS graduates by the Alumnae Association and the school.

She held positions ranging from visiting nurse to staff nurse to Director of the Division of Health Resources Development, U.S. Public Health Service (Philadelphia) and Program Planning Officer of the Public Health Service Administration in Washington, D.C.

She served and chaired numerous public health organizations including Vice President for USA, American Public Health Association and affirmative action and nomination committees for APHA’s PHN Section. She was also a member of the Preventive Health Advisory Committee to the Secretary of Health and Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, and the subcommittee on Study and Recommendations for Health Manpower in Pennsylvania. She was awarded the Distinguished Service Leadership Award from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, the Margaret Arnstein Award from the Public Health Nursing Section of APHA, and an honorary degree from LaSalle University.

An advocate for affordable, pragmatic health care reform, she presented information on the topic (A System Control Model for Healthcare Delivery) to numerous public organizations. Mrs. Morris was an assisted living resident of Stapeley at Germantown Care Home from 2001 to February, 2008, and moved to Napa, California to live with her daughter and son-in-law who cared for her until her death.

She is survived by daughter, Claire Fernanda Morris-Dobie and son-in-law, Paul E. Dobie, Napa, CA; grandson, Craig Murdah, Kauai, HI; granddaughter, Sherri Stark (Douglas), Los Angeles, CA; great grandchildren Quinn Hugh Stark and Romy Frances Stark and numerous cousins, friends, students and colleagues. She is pre-deceased by husband, Hugh Finley Morris who died in 1993 and is buried at West Laurel Hill Cemetery.

Memorial services will be held for Mrs. Morris on Saturday August 22 at 11:00 at Christ Church and St. Michael’s in Germantown. Interment of her ashes at West Laurel Hill Cemetery will be held the preceding Friday for family and close friends. The family asks that donations be made either to Christ Church and St. Michael’s or to the American Public Health Association in lieu of flowers.

CONTACT: Claire Dobie, daughter
509 Minahen St.
Napa, CA
PH: 707 927 4196
CELL: 707 320-7923

Alternative email:

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Copyright © Richard H. Smith, Jr.,, 2006