Morton H Litt
April 10, 1926 – June 2, 2020
Morton Herbert Litt, Ph.D., passed away unexpectedly on June 2, 2020, at University Hospitals, Cleveland. A University Heights resident since 1967, he is survived by his wife, Lola, his children Jonathan (Maria) and Jennie (David Alpher), and his grandchildren Daniel, David, Michael, and Mirabelle.
Morty was born in Brooklyn, NY, on April 10, 1926, to Samuel Litt (formerly Litwak) and Minnie Hertz. He was raised in the Bronx and Monticello, New York, and attended The Bronx High School of Science; City College of New York; and Polytechnic Institute of Brooklyn, where he earned his Ph.D. in polymer science.
He did a post-doctoral fellowship at The University of Manchester Institute of Science and Technology (UMIST) in Manchester, England, where he met and married his wife of almost 63 years, Lola (Abrahamson) Litt. They sailed to New York City in December, 1957, and settled in Syracuse, NY, where Morty did a second post-doctoral fellowship at the College of Forestry, then a division of Syracuse University. He worked for Allied Chemical (now Honeywell) in Morristown, New Jersey, in first half of the 1960s before taking an academic position at Case Western Reserve University in the Department of Macromolecular Science.
Morty remained at CWRU for the remainder of his long and distinguished career, attaining the rank of full professor, until his retirement in 2005, dividing his time between teaching, supervising graduate work, research, publishing papers, generating patents, and consulting. Starting in the 1980s, his work focused on the development of fuel-cell technology.
Morty had an artistic side as well. He was fascinated by rocks; he cut and polished opals, alexandrite, chrysoprase, turquoise, agate, and other semi-precious minerals in his basement workshop, eventually branching out into silversmithing and jewelry-making. He was a devoted amateur photographer as well, chronicling nearly 80 years of family life and travels with his camera. In later years, he scanned thousands of prints and slides to create a digital library of this archive. He loved wine, food, science fiction, and reciting poetry.
Morton and Lola moved to Judson Park in 2019.
Morty was generous, brilliant, family-oriented, intellectually well-rounded, curious, and an open-handed supporter of causes he believed in.
In lieu of flowers, friends are encouraged to make a memorial donation to the ACLU in Morty’s name: https://action.aclu.org/give/make-gift-aclu-someones-memory?cid=70136000001OB6t&ms=hp_donate&ms_aff=NAT&ms_chan=web&initms=hp_donate&initms_aff=NAT&initms_chan=web
A celebration of Morty’s life will be held at a later date.
Fond memories and expressions of sympathy for the Litt family may be shared at the "add a memory" link .
Morton H Litt
Mark M Green
March 27, 2021
My wife Anne remembers Mort's sweet slow-to-come smile, which lingered. I remember his kindness to this late comer to the polymer field working at the school where he obtained his doctoral degree. I heard him lecture several times and read his publications becoming aware of his brilliant contributions to the polymer field, which were a stimulation to my own work. He was one of those wonderful scientists so free of ego that you could count on him listening carefully to explanations of one's work while offering suggestions to improve the work as appropriate. He was a wonderful person, always a pleasure to spend time with. I miss you Mort.
November 11, 2020
I just learned about Prof. Litt’s passing. The message came so late. I am shocked and saddened. I was lucky to work with Prof. Litt for over a decade. I always admired his incredible knowledge and passion for shearing it. He was truly an extraordinary person. Earlier this year, Prof. Litt sent me a message that he had moved to a retirement home and that after suffering for one year, the doctors identified the illness. He said that he was taking pills and hoping to resume working with our group on a membrane project that was based on his ideas. I sent him an email on July 2 not realizing what had happened. How sad. I will miss you, Prof. Litt. Peace be upon you.
July 17, 2020
I have just learned of Dr Litt’s passing away as of today. It was really sad to know Dr. Litt left us during this pandemic. I was honored to work with him first as a phd student and then as a post-doc. His right-to-the-point mindset, always asking tough question attitude always inspired me until to this day. He is a brilliant soul always with sharp mind until his last days and his legacy will live on with so many students he advised and mentored through his life-time all over the world. He will be missed by us all.
June 26, 2020
I have just today learned of Dr Litt’s passing.
I had the honor of working with Morty in a research capacity following my graduation from Case in 1970. He taught me many things from practical concepts in Organic Chemistry To wonderful aphorisms concerning how to deal with uncertainties in data and information. Chief among these was the need to formulate and manage what he called the “‘hierarchy of contradictions”
June 12, 2020
My condolences to the entire Litt family. I was in cub scouts over fifty years ago with Jonathan and Mrs. Litt was our den mother. I can remember meeting Mr. Litt and thinking he must be a very smart man although I wasn't quite sure what he did! May his memory be a blessing
June 10, 2020
Goodbye, good friend!
Gheorghe D. Mateescu.
June 8, 2020
I have memories of my Uncle Morty for as far back as I can remember. I attach a picture of him and me when I was taking my timid first steps. I have so many fond memories of Morty that I can't single any out, but one I clearly remember is when my mother took me to visit Morty and Lola in Syracuse, when I was about six years old. It was a very exciting trip by train, and I had a wonderful time, although I was a bit grumpy from my sleep schedule being off kilter, and I remember having a mega tantrum when I lost a game of Sorry and spilled the contents of the board on the floor. I remember when my mother and I went to meet him when he arrived from England with Lola, who I thought seemed like a princess from a fairy tale. I remember how much we enjoyed our family visits to Morty and Lola in Morristown, and I am glad we were able to get together occasionally after they moved to Cleveland. I am so glad my two sons got to meet him, and remember how impressed they were with his intellect and knowledge. They talked about everything from sports to Xeno's paradox. I'm so glad I was able to attend his 90th birthday party, which was a beautiful joyous occasion. I will cherish the fond memories I have of him and he will always be in my heart.
June 6, 2020
As Morty’s granddaughter, I have so many fond memories of him. But the one thing that really stood out to me was how much of a constant he was in my life. He was continuously teaching me new things, showing me his work, and just being a wonderful man with a good heart. Even if he wasn’t so quiet all the time, I always felt a sense of comfort and safety around him. He’d help me when I needed it, no matter if it was with homework or if I just needed help lifting something. We didn’t see each other that often, but he always kept in touch and everything he invested in all of his grandchildren is truly inspiring. He was a loving, smart, and funny man and I know his memory will live on forever. I miss him, love him, and I couldn’t have asked for a better grandfather. Rest In Peace. ❤️
June 6, 2020
Dr. Litt had a transformative influence on my life. To this day, I still use many of the insights about science, art, life, and people, that I gained while working with him.
He was an inspiringly adventurous soul, one shaped by being at the center of tremendous change and progress in his lifetime. Yet, he never grew tired of learning and teaching new things. I will always miss him, but I find some solace remembering that part of his legacy will live on through everything that we (his students) learned while crossing paths with Morty.
May he Rest In Peace, and may his memory always be a source of inspiration and comfort for those who knew him.
June 5, 2020
Uncle Morty, brother to my mother (Barbara), leaves me with many memories. (Attached photo is of Morty, along with his sisters Barbara and Rita, and mother Minnie, circa 1930.) My first recollections are of him visiting the Shore household and making us laugh. We Shore children eagerly absorbed all his love, warmth and humor. And I remember his wonderful gifts -- which include in my case a stuffed black cat with an arched back (named Suzy) and a book (And to Think That I Saw It on Mulberry Street) which I still have. Later on we used to visit him and his family in New Jersey where we very much enjoyed the extensive collection of "Peanuts" books (among other things). The Litt home was often the seat of extended family gatherings, some of which are documented via his extensive and skilled photography. Recently, Uncle Morty sent us his digitized photos spanning decades, an amazing collection. Farewell, dear Uncle. Thank you for being a part of my life.
June 5, 2020
I still remember the days I attended prof. Litt’s Polymer Chemistry class at Case and enjoyed discussing with the Professor on various chemistry topics. He always asks tough but fair questions at our department seminars and he was always willing to share hi deep insights with students and whoever willing to ask. Prof Litt’s office is always piled up with papers and manuscripts. He sits right in the middle of them and always reading literature. My learning experience was so much more enjoyable because of prof Litt. RIP professor Litt. Your legacy will for sure live on. 🙏🙏