OBITUARY

Mary E. Morrow

November 2, 1917February 5, 2021
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By Sue Morrow Daughter No. 5 (the youngest)

Our mother was the quintessential organizer. But she didn’t figure a pandemic would throw a wrench into her funeral plans, which she organized with great detail long ago. The instructions were in her beloved handwriting that started to falter only a few months ago.

Mary Elizabeth Wolsieffer Morrow was born in Lafayette, Indiana, on November 2, 1917. She spent her life in Indianapolis, where she and Charles Vincent Morrow raised five daughters. Mary died on February 5, 2021. She was 103.

Mary wanted her Catholic funeral Mass to be a big deal: A large celebration of life with hundreds of friends and family singing, praying and telling stories. Faith was her cornerstone and her reason for doing anything “the right way.”

Because of the pandemic, adjustments have been made. This obituary highlights a few of the songs -- Mary’s playlist -- she requested. They are reflective of her life and the impact Mary Morrow had on countless people.

“Be Not Afraid”

Her requested entrance song epitomizes our mother. Whatever she faced in life, she did it fearlessly.

Mary and her brother, John, had a difficult childhood. For several years as young children, they were raised by a woman we knew as Aunt Florence whose nurturing was instrumental in Mary’s desire to create an environment centered around family.

Mary graduated from Shortridge High School, completed a comptroller class and got a job at William H. Block Co. department store in downtown Indianapolis.

Her story can’t be told without her husband of 61 years.

Mary and Charlie -- or “Bud” as she fondly called our dad -- met on a blind date that, as she told it, lasted 10 minutes. Dad was a smoker and Mom wasn’t so sure about him. They ended the date.

By chance about a year later, they bumped into one one another in downtown Indianapolis near the Monument Circle. Both dapper dressers, Mary was on her way to work, and she was now a smoker. Charlie invited her out again, and the rest is history. From then on, they did everything together, including ceasing to smoke.

Charlie had thought about becoming a priest -- until he met Mary. And she explained to us that she had been seeking a religion when they started to date. In 1936, with guidance from our dad, she converted to Catholicism and joined his church, St. Peter & Paul Cathedral, where they were married on May 28, 1938. Charlie died in November 1999. He was 85.

They had five daughters. All Mary wanted was a large family, and she often said she would have more children if God would have let her. There are many family friends who are considered the sixth, seventh and eighth, etc, daughters.

They had 12 grandchildren and 30 great-grandchildren.

Psalm 23: The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want

Mom lived her creed and she always gave to others.

Our family was, at best, middle income. Mom worked at Bowers Envelope Co. for 17 years and Wabash Life Insurance Co. for three years. She taught us how to sew, making our clothes -- and hopefully modeling our parents’ good sense of fashion.

They moved from the Broad Ripple area of Indianapolis to Carmel in 1975, where she and Dad became active and beloved members in Our Lady of Mount Carmel Parish.

Mom was known for making rosary beads and scapulas. They participated in Christ Renews His Parish and became known to just about everyone in the OLMC community.

Mom volunteered at St. Augustine’s Little Sisters of the Poor for many years and became a resident in 2012. At first, she kept her car and had an efficiency apartment that was like a cozy nest. A life-long swimmer, she drove to the pool three times a week to swim laps. She stopped at the age of 98 when she gave up driving. And she joked that it was also “more difficult to pull up my swimming suit at this age.”

“On Eagle’s Wings”

“On Eagle’s Wings” was her request during Communion. It is a song of uplifting peace and serenity.

Mary was notorious for unabashedly singing off-key during Mass. The louder the better. It made her happy. It brought her closer to God. When she saw we were not abiding by her example, with a smile and not missing a beat, a hymnal was thrust into our hands.

In her late 80s with friends, she traveled abroad (the only time) and saw the Pope in Rome. On a trip to Northern California to see family, she went wine tasting. Mary rarely drank alcohol, but she took small sips at each winery and called it “bar hopping.”

On her 92nd birthday, she kayaked the Weeki Wachee River and saw manatees in the crystal-clear waters in Hernando County, Florida. She paddled, but her sleek rig was tethered to a professional kayaker. “Precious Lord Take My Hand” (Song of Farewell)

For the past year, Mom started talking about seeing Dad again. She said she talked to him and could feel his presence. Always a realist, she understood that her body was getting tired. She managed congestive heart failure very well until a few weeks ago.

Her life at St. Augustine’s was blessed. The nuns and staff looked after her like she was a rock star -- or, more apt, a saint. She drove her scooter down the hallways maybe a little too fast and had a walker marked with her name stationed at several places in the building to accommodate walking short distances. She had her own corner in the sewing room where she crafted Christmas gifts for the annual holiday fundraising sale. She was fiercely independent and always felt like a burden when she needed to ask for something.

The Little Sisters were with Mom during her final hours in the early morning. They were saying a rosary when Mom took off her oxygen and placed it over the bed railing. She’d had enough and was ready to see her Charlie and her Lord.

Ten minutes later, she was at peace.

Mary is survived by five daughters: Connie Henn and Terri Smith, Indianapolis; Mary Beth Rose, Florida; Gloria Kenne, Idaho; Sue Morrow, Athens, Ohio; 12 grandchildren and 30 great-grandchildren. She is predeceased by her husband, Charles Vincent Morrow, and brother, John Wolsieffer.

Social distancing protocols will be observed at both services:

Visitation for Mary will begin at 5:00 pm on Tuesday, February 9th and conclude at time of Recitation of the Rosary at 7:00 pm at Leppert Mortuary - Nora Chapel

Mass of Christian Burial for Mary will begin at 10:00 am Wednesday, February 10th at Our Lady of Mount Carmel Catholic Church in Carmel. Please join Mary's family via live stream at 10:00 am at: www.leppertmortuary.com

Mary will be entombed next to Charlie at Oaklawn Memorial Gardens in Indianapolis.

In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to the Little Sisters of the Poor, St. Augustine, 2345 W 86th Street, Indianapolis, IN 46260

Online condolences available at: www.leppertmortuary.com

Services

  • Visitation

    Tuesday, February 9, 2021

  • Recitation of the Rosary

    Tuesday, February 9, 2021

  • Mass of Christian Burial

    Wednesday, February 10, 2021

    VIEW VIDEO

Memories

Mary E. Morrow

have a memory or condolence to add?

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Joe Kelley

February 14, 2021

I have many happy memories of the Morrow family from my high school days; their home was always full of vibrance and love. May His peace be with the family.

kathleen stadler

February 9, 2021

Mary always prayed for my intentions.
I thank her.
I asked Fr Hilary to say a Mass for her at St Paul church.
I love you, Mary,
May Mary and all the faithful departed rest in peace.
Amen

Mary Anne Barothy

February 9, 2021

Mrs. Morrow was an inspiration to me over the years. What a wonderful, fun loving Lady! God bless her and her family. RIP Mary Morrow.

Tanya Domi

February 9, 2021

I consider Mary Morrow my “second mother,” and I have been referred to as the “sixth daughter,” a honor that is in fact filled with love. Mary and Charlie were exceptionally good to me; both gave me a port away from the storm of a difficult home of origin. This generosity saved me many times over and provided a place of love and safety especially during my tenuous teen age years that would bode me well for years to come. How fortunate I was to fortuitously meet Terry in high school and maintain a life long friendship with Sue, who remains among my dearest friends. One of my fondest memories of Mary and Charlie occurred when my company command as an US Army Captain in Hawaii was coming to an end during their vacation in Honolulu to celebrate their 50th wedding anniversary. I was so proud they could attend and witness an important event in my life—indeed, their presence made this moment that much more treasured in memory. Mary didn’t really have to tell me she loved me, I knew it. Having suffered as a child herself, she possessed tremendous empathy, quiet and strong. So I deeply feel the loss of her departure to be with Charlie. Nonetheless, I will forever be grateful to Mary and her memory will always be a blessing in my life.

Jeanette Langston

February 9, 2021

Margaret Ann Miller Woelfel

February 8, 2021

I have known Mary Morrow for many years--first at Christ The King Catholic School where I was a student with her daughter, Mary Beth. When my husband, Denny Woelfel and I moved to Carmel, here were Mary and Charlie. We renewed our friendship at Our Lady of Mount Carmel parish. Mary and Charlie were so active in the Parish, and everyone loved them. I don't think Mary changed in looks very much since I knew her in grade school days. May you rest in peace.

Janet Tosick

February 8, 2021

Mrs. Morrow was an inspiration as a mother and grandmother. I have known the family since Mary Beth and I went to St Agnes Academy. I always admired Mrs. Morrow for her deep faith and the closeness she had with her daughters.
She had such a beautiful smile!!
Truly a woman of peace.
God bless your family during this sad time. I know her love will remain in many hearts. ♥️♥️
Love and Sympathy,
Janet and Michael Tosick

Vivian Seaman

February 7, 2021

What a blessing to know Mary. She always loved notes and letters calls also. She had a joy for living an example to me. Rest in peace. I can see you dancing down the aisle at OLMC at yoir 100th celebration.

Mary Beth Diersing Males

February 7, 2021

Mom (Jean) and Mary's friendship goes back forever 💓.
Our thoughts and prayers are with your family!


Love, The Diersing Family

Jane Reisdorf

February 7, 2021

Mary was and will continue to be an inspiration. She and Charlie became wonderful friends who adopted me into their family. She was a constant prayer warrior. I enjoyed making angel food cakes for her birthdays and 1/2 birthdays (Yes, I will continue doing so). I enjoyed hearing stories about her daughters and grandchildren. I thank her for encouraging me to participate in CRHP. She made a difference in my life.

Mary will be missed on earth but will remain present in my heart. The Morrow family will always remain in my prayers.

FROM THE FAMILY
FROM THE FAMILY
FROM THE FAMILY
FROM THE FAMILY
FROM THE FAMILY
FROM THE FAMILY
FROM THE FAMILY
FROM THE FAMILY
FROM THE FAMILY
FROM THE FAMILY

Biography

Our mother was the quintessential organizer. But she didn’t figure a pandemic would throw a wrench into her funeral plans, which she organized with great detail long ago. The instructions were in her beloved handwriting that started to falter only a few months ago.

Mary Elizabeth Wolsieffer Morrow was born in Lafayette, Indiana, on November 2, 1917. She spent her life in Indianapolis, where she and Charles Vincent Morrow raised five daughters. Mary died on February 5, 2021. She was 103.

Mary wanted her Catholic funeral Mass to be a big deal: A large celebration of life with hundreds of friends and family singing, praying and telling stories. Faith was her cornerstone and her reason for doing anything “the right way.”

Because of the pandemic, adjustments have been made. This obituary highlights a few of the songs -- Mary’s playlist -- she requested. They are reflective of her life and the impact Mary Morrow had on countless people.

“Be Not Afraid”

Her requested entrance song epitomizes our mother. Whatever she faced in life, she did it fearlessly.

Mary and her brother, John, had a difficult childhood. For several years as young children, they were raised by a woman we knew as Aunt Florence whose nurturing was instrumental in Mary’s desire to create an environment centered around family.

Mary graduated from Shortridge High School, completed a comptroller class and got a job at William H. Block Co. department store in downtown Indianapolis.

Her story can’t be told without her husband of 61 years.

Mary and Charlie -- or “Bud” as she fondly called our dad -- met on a blind date that, as she told it, lasted 10 minutes. Dad was a smoker and Mom wasn’t so sure about him. They ended the date.

By chance about a year later, they bumped into one one another in downtown Indianapolis near the Monument Circle. Both dapper dressers, Mary was on her way to work, and she was now a smoker. Charlie invited her out again, and the rest is history. From then on, they did everything together, including ceasing to smoke.

Charlie had thought about becoming a priest -- until he met Mary. And she explained to us that she had been seeking a religion when they started to date. In 1936, with guidance from our dad, she converted to Catholicism and joined his church, St. Peter & Paul Cathedral, where they were married on May 28, 1938. Charlie died in November 1999. He was 85.

They had five daughters. All Mary wanted was a large family, and she often said she would have more children if God would have let her. There are many family friends who are considered the sixth, seventh and eighth, etc, daughters.

They had 12 grandchildren and 30 great-grandchildren.

Psalm 23: The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want

Mom lived her creed and she always gave to others.

Our family was, at best, middle income. Mom worked at Bowers Envelope Co. for 17 years and Wabash Life Insurance Co. for three years. She taught us how to sew, making our clothes -- and hopefully modeling our parents’ good sense of fashion.

They moved from the Broad Ripple area of Indianapolis to Carmel in 1975, where she and Dad became active and beloved members in Our Lady of Mount Carmel Parish.

Mom was known for making rosary beads and scapulas. They participated in Christ Renews His Parish and became known to just about everyone in the OLMC community.

Mom volunteered at St. Augustine’s Little Sisters of the Poor for many years and became a resident in 2012. At first, she kept her car and had an efficiency apartment that was like a cozy nest. A life-long swimmer, she drove to the pool three times a week to swim laps. She stopped at the age of 98 when she gave up driving. And she joked that it was also “more difficult to pull up my swimming suit at this age.”

“On Eagle’s Wings”

“On Eagle’s Wings” was her request during Communion. It is a song of uplifting peace and serenity.

Mary was notorious for unabashedly singing off-key during Mass. The louder the better. It made her happy. It brought her closer to God. When she saw we were not abiding by her example, with a smile and not missing a beat, a hymnal was thrust into our hands.

In her late 80s with friends, she traveled abroad (the only time) and saw the Pope in Rome. On a trip to Northern California to see family, she went wine tasting. Mary rarely drank alcohol, but she took small sips at each winery and called it “bar hopping.”

On her 92nd birthday, she kayaked the Weeki Wachee River and saw manatees in the crystal-clear waters in Hernando County, Florida. She paddled, but her sleek rig was tethered to a professional kayaker.

“Precious Lord Take My Hand” (Song of Farewell)

For the past year, Mom started talking about seeing Dad again. She said she talked to him and could feel his presence. Always a realist, she understood that her body was getting tired. She managed congestive heart failure very well until a few weeks ago.

Her life at St. Augustine’s was blessed. The nuns and staff looked after her like she was a rock star -- or, more apt, a saint. She drove her scooter down the hallways maybe a little too fast and had a walker marked with her name stationed at several places in the building to accommodate walking short distances. She had her own corner in the sewing room where she crafted Christmas gifts for the annual holiday fundraising sale. She was fiercely independent and always felt like a burden when she needed to ask for something.

The Little Sisters were with Mom during her final hours in the early morning. They were saying a rosary when Mom took off her oxygen and placed it over the bed railing. She’d had enough and was ready to see her Charlie and her Lord.

Ten minutes later, she was at peace.

Mary is survived by five daughters: Connie Henn and Terri Smith, Indianapolis; Mary Beth Rose, Florida; Gloria Kenne, Idaho; Sue Morrow, Athens, Ohio; 12 grandchildren and 30 great-grandchildren. She is predeceased by her husband, Charles Vincent Morrow, and brother, John Wolsieffer.

Social distancing protocols will be observed at both services:

Visitation for Mary will begin at 5:00 pm on Tuesday, February 9th and conclude at time of Recitation of the Rosary at 7:00 pm at Leppert Mortuary - Nora Chapel

Mass of Christian Burial for Mary will begin at 10:00 am Wednesday, February 10th at Our Lady of Mount Carmel Catholic Church in Carmel. Please join Mary's family via live stream at 10:00 am at: www.leppertmortuary.com

Mary will be entombed next to Charlie at Oaklawn Memorial Gardens in Indianapolis.

In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to the Little Sisters of the Poor, St. Augustine, 2345 W 86th Street, Indianapolis, IN 46260

Online condolences available at: www.leppertmortuary.com