Lenore Edith Morawski February 12, 1920 - March 21, 2018
Lenore Edith Morawski, aged 98, died in Salem, Oregon after a brief hospitalization.
Lenore was born in Paulding County, Ohio, in 1920 to Ward Winfield Matson and Iva Brown Matson. She was raised in Oakwood, Ohio with her younger sister Leona and her younger brother Keith. During most of their childhood their father was the editor and publisher of Oakwood's weekly newspaper, the "News." His print shop and office also housed the Oakwood branch of the Paulding County Library, and his children were always first in line for new books. For Lenore, this planted the seed of a lifetime love of reading.
Her parents sent her to piano lessons when she was six years old and firmly emphasized the need for serious and regular practice. She and her sister were also taught at an early age to sing together. In their teenage years, as the "Matson Sisters," they sang their own arrangements of popular songs at churches, high school functions, and on the radio, including an unpaid summer engagement with station WOWO in Ft. Wayne, Indiana.
Lenore had a happy upbringing in rural Ohio, but even as a young girl her thoughts carried her to the west. Years later she recalled reading stories about wagon trains and the westward migrations; she would scan the flat Ohio landscape and imagine that the clouds on the horizon were the high ridges of the Rockies or Cascades. She graduated from Oakwood High School in 1938. Within a few years she moved to Ft. Wayne, where she worked for International Harvester. In 1943 she married her first husband, Al Wellin, and joined him in at his home in Chicago. After her young husband's tragic death from heart disease in 1944, she made her first trip west and moved to Seattle, to be near her sister Leona, who had joined the WAVES and was stationed at Bainbridge Island. Lenore spent most of the rest of the 1940s in Portland, working in clerical and bookkeeping functions for a number of local companies. On a trip to Chicago to visit her late husband's family, she met Chester Chet Morawski, whom she married in 1951. She and her husband began raising their small family in Chicago and Joliet, Illinois during the 1950s, but she had Oregon in her blood. A talented amateur painter, she brought a bit of the Pacific Northwest to the family house by painting a large mural of the Columbia River Gorge on the dining room wall. She wanted to return to Oregon, and she got her wish 10 years after her marriage when the family left the midwest and settled in the Portland area. Lenore returned to the paid workforce in the mid 1960s, and in the late 60s took a position with Blue Cross of Oregon. She retired from Blue Cross in 1982 as a supervisor in the Group Accounting Department. Lenore was active during her retirement. She served on the vestry of her church the Anglican Parish of St. Mark, in northwest Portland. She also served there in St. Martha's Guild, which operated the Altar Bread Room, baking wafers for the Sacrament of Holy Communion, for use not only at St. Mark's but at Anglican parishes regionally and nationally. She also served on the governing board of her condo association in Tigard. At one point she said "I'm working harder in retirement than when I was at Blue Cross!" She also enjoyed opera, classical music in general, backyard birdwatching, and baseball as a long-suffering Seattle Mariners fan. And right up to her final months, she never lost her love for reading, especially the works of Jane Austen and "whodunits".
For the last 4 years Lenore resided in Salem, Oregon, at the United Methodist Retirement Center Willson House. Lenore was predeceased by her husband Chet 1985, her brother Keith Matson 1988, and her sister Leona McCoy 1997. She is survived by her sons Joseph Morawski Betsy Newcomb and Thomas Morawski Elisabeth Postma; grandchildren Madeleine Newcomb Morawski and Jackson Newcomb Morawski; and many nieces and nephews. Lenore summed up her long life in her own words once, in comments written to her classmates at her 50th high school reunion: "The best thing that has happened to me is when Chet and I decided to pull up stakes from Joliet, Illinois and move to Oregon in 1961. Oregon is the most beautiful state in this great country!"
Guest Book Entries
Thank you for this wonderful tribute to our Aunt Lenore. We are sorry about her passing, but also know she lived a rich life with family and her interest in art and music and reading.