Born in Richmond, Mary spent most of her youth in Hershey. After a career in southern Ohio, she returned to Pennsylvania as a member of Willow Valley Communities to be closer to her sister, Sarah “Sue” McDonald, and niece, Beth Cesarone.
Doc—her Girl Scout nickname—was at ease in the water teaching children to swim or paddling canoes on its surface. She earned the Curved Bar Award, which led to a life of outdoor and physical education. Mary attended Hershey Junior College, and earned degrees from Ohio State and Miami University in Ohio. This led to her first teaching assignment in Bethel, Ohio, her home of fifty years. When not teaching, she coached, taught driver’s education and served as a board member of the local teachers’ credit union. She stayed involved with Girl Scouting for years. After retirement, she enjoyed life on her farm.
A supportive single parent, Mary put her own life on hold to raise her son and lend support to whatever he was doing. She led the family with a quietude that inspired performance without cajoling. Mary modeled resilience and character during challenging times.
Grandma Mad Merry, because she was always fun to be around, traveled the world to see her Army BRATs. Arriving jet lagged after crossing the Atlantic or tired from the drive, she was ready to ride trains, paddle canoes, play games, and knit another pair of mittens or bespoke Christmas stocking. Her grandchildren didn’t know what it was to have a Christmas without her because she was always there. She also relished visiting her sister along the Delaware River, in Greece, and South America.
Mary is survived by her son Colonel Matthew D. Morton and his wife Julie; three grandchildren, LT John Morton, Ms. Gillian Morton, and Miss Ainsley Morton; and her sister Sarah McDonald. She was preceded in death by her parents Jared and Reba Darlington.
Mary will be remembered by friends and family at a small memorial service to be conducted at D. F. Buchmiller Park, Lancaster, Sunday morning, 22 May 2022. She found her church here in the shade of a tree on sunny days in the company of her dog. In lieu of flowers, please make a donation to a local charity or simply take a moment to reflect on Mary’s life over a cup of coffee in the early morning quiet from the bench that will be placed in her memory at the park. If you would like an invitation to the service, please respond to the following link:
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