Dr Mark Moore

Mark Moore, MD
Tallahassee Anesthesiology, PA

Anita Morell   Obituary

Mrs. Anita Morell, a long-time resident of Marlboro, NJ died at the age of 85. She was the loving wife of Paul Morell for 60 years and mother to sons Mark and Paul, and daughter Anita, and grandmother of seven.
Anita had a genius IQ and an eidetic memory. She attended college and received an advanced degree in a time when most women did not step foot outside the home. She lived a long married life and raised children. She was a great teacher at school and at home.

Her father, Joseph, arrived in Manhattan at age 9 in the 1880’s from the island of Procida, where his family had lived for a documented 500 years. After Joseph’s arrival in Manhattan, he worked as a marble mason, then a contractor and helped build New York City during some of its busiest yeas of growth. He became very wealthy. The great depression changed everything.

Born in 1926 in Brooklyn, mom was 3 years old when the Wall Street Crash of 1929 hit. Their family survived not on construction work, but on the movie theater her dad had built—the first moving pictures theater in Brooklyn.
Mom was a bright student. She scored A's from her first day of first grade until her last class in the Masters program in Education; She was a triple-valedictorian, chosen as valedictorian in grammar/middle school, high school and college.
In 1946 post-war America, mom was studying education at St. Joseph’s College.

She met dad while as a chaperone at a church CYO dance, only weeks after he returned from active combat in the South Pacific. Dad had seen her in church, and appeared at the dance. They began to chaperone together. The Thursday before Memorial Day, they crossed paths on a train on the way to Manhattan, he to work, and she to college. He asked her for a date for the following Friday, so as not to be so rude to assume she was available for this upcoming holiday weekend.

They dated and then dad went to school too, then they married. Mom taught in the NYC Brooklyn School District, one of the best in the country at the time. But, when mom had children, she returned home, and stayed home to raise the children.

During the turbulent sixties, they moved from the city to the beautiful rural coast of New Jersey, which at the time, consisted of large tracts of farmland and scattered small developments of homes. Dad and a good friend set up a hardware store, and mom took care of the family.

She returned to active teaching as the children grew, and even though she was one of the strictest and demanding teachers, she was one of the most popular. She knew that what she did could make a difference in her student’s lives. And she did make a difference. 

At home, she taught her own children since the day they took their first breath. Growing up in our house-it seemed like she knew every fact there was to know. Mom was like Google before there was the internet. She led a simple life of service to her family and her students and stood behind her husband, family, friends and students 100%. She found time to do her favorite things-to read and travel.

She had many good friends and considered them as family. In later years, she spent winters on the gulf coast of Florida, but always enjoyed coming home to NJ to see everyone again.
After mom passed, we received many heartfelt condolences from her former students, and one hand-written letter of thanks from a student who said mom was the single-most important teacher she had ever had--and that year in mom’s classroom changed the course of her life.



St.Gabriels Old Brick Church  Eulogy 

I wrote a note this morning for myself (holding up note), it says “write eulogy for mom”.  It would have made her laugh.  She was easy to laugh and she loved to laugh. 
Thank you everyone for being here today.  I’m sure mom is with us, too.  Last night at the viewing, the priest said a prayer and tribute over mom. While speaking about mom, the priest tried to say the word “vigilance” except he mispronounced it as “villigance”.

I am an anesthesiologist and our professional motto is…..“vigilance”.   I smiled as I imagined mom sitting up and saying in a stern and deep teacher tone—“the word is VIGILANCE.  V.  I.  G.  I.  L.  A.  N. C. E.   VIGILANCE”.
She was more than smart. She was blessed with a genius IQ and a photographic memory but never mentioned it, not even at home.  She acted as if everyone knew that the capitol of Morocco was Rabat, (and not Casablanca), or that Timbuktu was a real place (it’s in Mali, Africa) or something as simple as when to use “whom” instead of “who”. She’d hear something once and remember it.
She will be missed by all.

On November 24, 1996, mom was 70 years old and my brother Paul asked mom’s best friends to write her a friendship letter.  He organized these into a book to give to mom on her birthday.  I’d like to read some excerpts from those letters:

--From Dad-- “the last 50 years since I’ve known you (amazing!) has flown by, which proves the old adage that ‘time flies when you’re having fun’.”

--From me—“Growing up in our family was always secure and nurturing.  You gave us all the love and time that we needed, each and every day.  Many years have passed but there are many great years ahead together”

--From Son Paul, who passed away in October 2009 (read by his wife Tahni)—“To the most wonderful, incredible, awesome mom in the world—there is not enough space in the pages of this book to write out all the things I would like to say to you.  It can be summarized by several phrases: 1. thank you for all your love and constant support over my lifetime 2. I appreciate and noticed all the ways that you were a loving mom and it has changed my life for the better and made me a good family man and a good citizen. 

---Daughter Anita was 16 in May 1979 when she was killed by drunk drivers on the way to the prom.  (read by brother Mark)
“Had sister Anita been alive in 1996, she might have brought out this Ann Landers column titled: “Meanest Mother in the World” (mom had given a copy to each of us).  Mom was a great mother, but she was not the status quo.  Mom was proud that she was strong-willed and expected 100% cooperation from her children. Now I apply these same principles to my own family.” 

MEANEST MOTHER IN THE WORLD –From an Ann Landers Column
I had the meanest mother in the world. While other kids had candy for breakfast, I had to eat cereal, eggs and toast. While other kids had cola and candy for lunch, I had a sandwich. As you can guess, my dinner was different from other kids' dinners, too.

My mother insisted on knowing where we were at all times. You'd think we were on a chain gang or something. She had to know who our friends were and what we were doing.

I am ashamed to admit it, but she actually had the nerve to break the child labor law. She made us work. We had to wash dishes, make the beds and learn how to cook. That woman must have stayed awake nights thinking up things for us kids to do.

And she always insisted that we tell the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth.
By the time we were teenagers, she was much wiser and our life became even more unbearable. None of this tooting the car horn for us to come running; she embarrassed us to no end by insisting that the boys come to the door to get us.

I forgot to mention that most of our friends were allowed to date at the mature age of 12 and 13, but our old-fashioned mother refused to let us date until we were 15.

She really raised a bunch of squares. None of us was ever arrested for shoplifting or busted for dope. And who do we have to thank for this?

You're right, our Mean Mother.

I am trying to raise my children to stand a little straighter and taller and I am secretly tickled to pieces when my children call me mean. I thank God for giving me the meanest mother in the world.

Our country doesn't need a good five-cent cigar. It needs more mean mothers like mine.

Blessings on That Wonderful Woman.
--From Aunt Ruth, mom’s sister—“where did 70 years go?  That’s how long we’ve been together since you were born!  You’ll always be close to me.  I’m glad we live near enough to see each other on weekends.  You’re friendship is a treasure”.

--From Uncle Joe, dad’s brother—“I guess we’ve known you about 50 years since you joined us when you married the ‘baby’ of the family; more recently, we’ve had many good times together at the holidays;   we also have many things in common including the loss of a child which makes us a little closer, and we know the feelings that most people never have, and thank God, they never have to know them.”

--From Lisa, my wife—“I can’t tell you how much it means to me to have a mother-in-law like you.  Right from the start you welcomed me into your family with open arms.  And so many times you’ve gone out of your way to make me feel special.  You’re like a second mom--you’re always there for me.  There will always be a special place in my heart just for you!”

--From Tahni —“We met on your anniversary; and I’ll never forget my first visit and how wonderful you made me feel.  You were standing on the porch with dad, outside of the kitchen waiting to greet us with wide open arms and a loving smile.”

--From Charlie and Renie Raub, their good friends for over 50 years; dad was in Saipan with Charlie in WW2—“Anita, you mean to the world to us.  Our wish for you is that you will have many more happy birthdays and that Reenie and I will continue to be numbered among your closest friends.  Also, I always enjoy things that you have written because your handwriting is so beautiful-Reenie.  P.S. your cooking scores points with me--Charlie”

--From Walter and Terri, their good friends for 50 years—“Friendship is written in things that you do, you do more than listen, you understand”

--From Linda, a teacher and good friend—“you are a very special friend, my fondest memories will always be of all the private times we shared together at your home over tea, relaxing in your family room, and of course, on the phone.  You never seem to tire of listening and you always give the best advice.  You are like a “second mom” to me and you will always have a special place in my heart.  Thank you for always being there.”

--From Aunt Kit (who was from Texas)—“it all began on that first double-date that Paul and Phil had arranged while working together at the post office.  If I remember correctly, we went to Coney Island on the trolley.  I had just moved and was new to the big city, and along comes this cute, attractive, knowledgeable young lady who, quite frankly, intimidated me a great deal.  Because of the two boys (who eventually opened the hardware store together), we continued to meet at various times and I began to enjoy these visits because we had so much fun”

--From Anne O’Connor Dodds, Anita’s best friend, and later, a best friend of mine, and mom and dad, too:  “I’ve been trying to reflect on what Anita would do to celebrate this birthday with you.  I know she’d make you feel super special, maybe organize a party or find the perfect gift.  But what you’d appreciate most would be her long warm hug and her sincere “I love you, mom”

“I am so thankful that through Anita I got to know you and your special family and I feel this birthday letter should therefore be representative of her as it is Anita, that, in many ways has most affected your life.  Anita and I were cheerleaders together, but became better friends during the school play “Anything Goes” because we’d drive home from practice together every night.  She was the sweetest soul I’ve ever known, then and even now—genuine, kind, loving, intelligent and of rare beauty.  She’d talk about her family and how she loved her older brothers so much and was so proud of them and what they were doing, showing me their handsome photos.”  

“The night after ‘the accident’, a friend of mine took me to Manasquan, one of Anita’s favorite places.  It was a cold and windy night but we sat and listened to the waves rolling onto the beach.  And my friend told me to listen to the waves and I’d hear Anita.  Have you ever listened to the waves?  They are beautiful, steady and strong—like Anita.  I can’t see a beach anymore without thinking of her.  And I think what she’d want you to know on this birthday is that you will be reunited with her someday and all the pain will be forgotten.   So I send you much love for your birthday in Anita’s memory--- Love, Anne”  

---From a letter sent by a former student of mom’s, Mrs.Jennifer Williams Amatruto.  In 1975, Mom was her 5th grade teacher at Robertsville School.  Mrs.Amatruto recently applied to be a teacher herself and the application included an essay question: “which teacher had the most influence on your life”.  Mrs. Amatruto sent a copy of her essay to us on December 19, 2011 and I read to mom.  Mom remembered Jennifer (of course), and was touched by her thoughtfulness and kind words.  These are excerpts from that essay:

“My 5th grade Language Arts Teacher, Mrs. Anita Morell, had the most influence on me.  Everything about her was old-fashioned.  She had a reputation for being a tough teacher.  Mrs. Morell was stuck in a time-warp—she still thought she was in 1955.  She wore long, full, black poodle skirts (minus the poodle) and plain white blouses every day.  She had full bangs and pulled the rest of her hair back in a pony-tail just like the co-eds are depicted in films from the 1950’s.  She had a manner of speaking which suggested shewas from another era, and if she used slang (which was rare), the words or phrases were decades old. 

Hours of homework, rigid grading and endless reading were some of the ‘horrors’ that awaited her future students.  I was a good student but I was still nervous over the prospect of getting her as my teacher.  [The year began], and at the beginning of each week, Mrs.Morell would write a very long list of vocabulary words on the blackboard, [that we would be required to] look up, note definitions, write a sentence with every word, search for each word in our readings for the week, recopy the sentence in our vocabulary books and then have a test on it all at the end of the week.  Mixed in with this routine were very frequent spelling bees, book reports, both oral and written, weekly current events segments, grammar, and diagramming sentences.  How she managed to fit everything into every week was truly amazing. Time was no object. She made it work.”

Looking back, I can confidently say that I owe many things to Mrs.Morell. My love of Latin, my efficiency and organization in studies, my abilities in public speaking and my trophies I received on the high school forensics team to name a few.  Mrs. Morell’s love of reading and acquiring new knowledge was infectious.  The student I became in high school, college, graduate school, and now later in life, is a direct result of the 9 months I spent in Mrs. Morell’s classroom.  As I make my journey to becoming a teacher, I will always be looking back to the lessons she taught me.”

I would like to thank you all for being here today to remember mom. I want to also thank everyone who attended the viewing last evening, especially their best friends Nancy and Pete Foley. Hasan, who is Nancy and Pete's son-in-law, left me with these kind words.  They were simple and precise and represented how mom might have reflected on the moment.  Hasan said: “Anita was a good woman. She will be missed”.

We remember with a special thank you:
All our family,  Especially for my wife, Lisa ,  Nancy and Pete
Christine, their good friend who visited Mom and Dad often,  Linda Shaner,
Terry Kolodjeski, their long-time neighbor and friend who spent many afternoons with Mom and Dad and brought them awesome home cooked recipes.
Theresa and Louie, friends from long ago who remained on their favorite friends list.
Ruby,     Phil and Kit,   Kathy and Uncle Al,    Uncle Vinnie and Aunt Mary Rose
Walter and Terri,   Anne,   Dave Tarnowski,   And so many family friends from the Marlboro
School System, St.John Vianney, our town and our lives.