Cover photo for Mary Hazel Morrison's Obituary
Mary Hazel Morrison Profile Photo
1941 Mary 2017

Mary Hazel Morrison

June 18, 1941 — August 15, 2017

Mary Hazel Morrison was born on June 18, 1941 at Harlem Hospital during a time of social, cultural and political turbulence and transformation.  Civil and economic rights for African Americans were the focus of the time and shaped not only her core values and world view, but the way in which she would live her life.

She was bright, with a beautiful smile, quick sense of humor and stylish…always stylish.  In High School, she feel madly and deeply in love with another “Harlemite”, Charles Edward Morrison Jr. and in 1960 – at the tender ages of 19 and 21 – they wed.

Unusual for the time, especially for a young black couple, Mary and Charles spent the next seven years of their lives traveling the world.  From Barcelona, to Paris, to her all-time favorite San Juan, Puerto Rico, the couple visited beaches around the world, learned to salsa, sampled exotic cuisine and were often mistaken for movie stars because of their style (oh she kept him on point!) and their matching afros.

During this time, she continued her education and earned her Associates Degree from Borough of Manhattan Community College.  She also leveraged her research and typing skills to help her husband graduate from Fordham University and earn his law degree from Brooklyn College.  Soon after, the couple relocated to the Upper West Side of Manhattan, joining and fully enjoying one of the most diverse and eclectic neighborhoods in New York City.  

The next years were all about the true loves of her life – her three children, Elizabeth, Alexis and Charles.  A passionate stay-at-home mom, Mary cooked organic (before it was a ‘thing’!) and continued to lobby for social justice and equal access to services, including helping successfully establish the first early childhood education center in Manhattan, The Children’s Storefront.

Divorcing after 24 years of marriage, Mary moved with her three children to Reading, PA where she bought a house and fulfilled a long held dream of having a vegetable garden.  She grew tomatoes, collard greens, herbs and mint for her infamous sun tea.

A single mom now, Mary joined her passion for people with her career and became a community outreach coordinator for Planned Parenthood. “Ms. Mary” and her straight talk were an instant hit!  Saturday errands and shopping were always an adventure as young people all over the city knew, respected & loved her.  She left Planned Parenthood for a stint at AT&T, before landing in her career calling as a Case Manager for the Berks County Office of Aging.  For almost 20 years Mary advocated for and served the seniors of Reading, PA – making friends and gaining respect for her ability to connect with elders of all ethnicities, races and socio-economic backgrounds.

She retired from the Office of Aging and continued to give back by serving on the Berks County Juvenile Probation Council, the last stop for wayward youth before they entered the criminal justice system.  Oh how she loved those kids!  Tough truth talking Ms. Mary had a way of scaring them straight, while winning their hearts and changing their lives.

During these years she experienced much joy traveling to see her children in California, North Carolina, Maryland and Norristown and vacationing with them in Hilton Head, SC and Boca Raton and Ft. Lauderdale, FL.

On August 15, 2017, her life ended as it began – with courage, conviction and glamour that she took with her right to the pearly gates.  

Mary is proudly survived by her three children, Elizabeth A. Morrison, Alexis E. Morrison and Charles E. Morrison III, her daughter-in-law Brandy Hays-Morrison, three grandchildren Giovanni Denim Piergrossi, Charles E. Morrison IV and Roderic P. Morrison and many, many, many loved ones, friends and people whose lives she positively impacted through her social work and advocacy.

We love her and are so very grateful to have known her; may God rest her soul.

For those who wish to send flowers for Mary's Celebration of Life

  • Contact Denise at Floral Sampler - 610-834-8425,

For those who wish to honor Mary with a donation to her favorite charity

  • St. Jude Children's Research Hospital
  • Copy and paste this link to Mary's Memorial Fund: 
  • Or visit, click on ways to give, personalized tribute funds, search for fund: Mary's Memorial Fund

Recommended lodging for out of town guests

  • SpringHill Suites by Mariott Philadelphia -
  • 430 Plymouth Road, Plymouth Meeting, PA 19462
  • 610-940-0400
To order memorial trees or send flowers to the family in memory of Mary Hazel Morrison, please visit our flower store.

Service Schedule

Past Services

Funeral Service

Saturday, August 26, 2017

3:00 - 4:15 pm

The Church on the Mall - Refreshments: 4:30 PM to 5:15 PM

500 W Germantown Pike, Plymouth Meeting, PA 19462

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