Cornelia Laverne Bouyea
April 9, 1944 – July 6, 2018
Cornelia Laverne Bouyea was born Cornelia Laverne Morant to John Henry and Cornelia Marie Morant on April 9, 1944 in Charleston, South Carolina. She was the youngest girl of their nine children: John, Billy, Rita, Walter, Vivian, Carolyn, and twins Andrew and Anthony. Cornelia was the loving mother of three children: Jason Anthony Reader (a/k/a Jason Anthony Morant) by way of her first marriage to James Reader; Cornelia Daniella Bouyea by way of her 44-year marriage to the late Louis Stanislaus Bouyea, and adoptive mother to Sheree Gilyard, the biological daughter of her sister Rita. The love and care extended to Sheree was a Morant family tradition—one Cornelia experienced firsthand following the death of her mother in 1952. Cornelia was adopted by Morant family member Rita “Pearl” Marshall and moved from Charleston to the McComb Dam Projects in Harlem, New York. There she was raised with her adoptive brother, George Marshall, and eventually her biological sister, Carolyn, who moved across the street after being adopted by their uncle Charles Morant, his wife Ilda, and their daughters Dawn and Lana. In this close-knit extended family environment, Cornelia was encouraged to flourish and established many lifelong friendships, including her childhood friend, the late Keris Lake-Murray, high school friend, Sandra “Sandy” Lawson, and nursing school friends, Cynthia Henry, Sheila Ober-Brown, and Danielle Payne. Cornelia excelled in her educational endeavors, which included graduating from Commerce High School in 1962 and obtaining her nursing degree from Bellevue Nursing School in 1965. To support herself while in school, Cornelia worked as a seamstress in a dress shop on Harlem’s 145th Street and joined the Army Reserves Program, becoming an Officer in the United States Army Nurse Corps from 1964-1966. During this time, Cornelia also excelled as a synchronized swimmer. Cornelia married Louis Stanislaus Bouyea on December 26, 1974 and together made their home in New York’s South Ozone Park neighborhood. Cornelia’s nursing career was focused on pediatric primary care and administrative supervision of medical clinics throughout Harlem/East Harlem Manhattan. Her personal touch endeared her to everyone she interacted with professionally and her sense of social and civic duty within these communities made “Connie”—as they fondly called her—well-known and respected as one of their own who made good on her oath to heal and comfort those she served. Her light and brilliant example radiated mightily enough to direct her daughter Cornelia and niece Dionne toward careers as registered nurses. Upon their retirement, Cornelia and Louis moved to Maricopa, Arizona, where they resided for nearly eleven years before joining their daughter, Cornelia, in the Atlanta area in 2016. Whether you knew her as Cornelia, Connie, Corny, or Aunty Connie, Cornelia Laverne Morant Bouyea was Dedicated, Loyal, Intelligent, Funny, Loving and Resilient! She was an active practitioner of the Catholic faith, loving wife, nurturing mother, supportive grandmother, sister, aunt and friend. Cornelia will be remembered for her compassionate nature and bright smile, her love of swimming, trips to the beach with her family and friends, driving a “beetle,” reading novels, taking pictures, drinking big cups of ice water, and playing Scrabble. Though she is absent from us, we are comforted knowing she is present with the LORD.
- Funeral Mass Friday, July 20, 2018