Gwendolyn Lillian Morley (1917 - 2013)

  • "Deepest sympathy to the Morley family. May the..."
    - Evelyn
  • "Bruce,Judy, Lynn & kids...Gwen was a real gem & will be..."
    - Terry & Roger Shattuck
  • "To the family: Saying good-bye must be the hardest thing in..."
  • "Bruce an Judy sorry for your loss, my family list is..."
    - harvey Wheaton
  • "Thoughts and prayers for the Morley family as you remember..."
    - Ellen and Rod Betit

Gwendolyn "Gwen" Lillian (Jolly) Morley was an extraordinary woman. Family describes her as gracious, adventuresome, supportive, faithful, pragmatic and a peace broker. But perhaps what comes to mind for many is that Gwen shared music joyfully to all!
She was born on March 31, 1917, in Seattle; a little sister to Harold and a daughter to James Blackmore and Florence (Rogers) Jolly. Following her graduation from Franklin High School in 1934, she took classes at the American Institute of Banking while working at Washington Mutual in Seattle.
The lure of Alaska caused her to book passage on Alaska Steam and for her first vacation she traveled throughout Southeast. Alaska resonated with her and shortly after her marriage to Lloyd "Red" Morley in 1938, they moved to Juneau (June of 1939). There she worked at the 1st National Bank of Anchorage.
Red's work for the Territory of Alaska took them from Juneau to Anchorage where Max, Bruce and Lynn were born, Lloydean being born in Seattle during the war years. The young family also spent a year in Palmer, but returned to Juneau in 1957 and settled into their home atop Pederson Hill near Auke Lake.
It was in Anchorage that Gwen bought her first Hammond. She was hooked! For twenty years she owned the Hammond Organ Studio in Juneau and will be remembered for lending her musical talents to numerous events in Juneau: the first Governor's inauguration, Mike's Place, style shows, holiday music around town, as the church organist at Chapel-by-the-Lake and later Northern Light United Church, and playing the pipe organ at the State Office Building. She brought the gift of music to many Juneauites, teaching them how to play with the "six free lessons" that came with the purchase of a Hammond.
Additionally she worked for many years for the Juneau-Douglas School District as a secretary as many attendees of 5th Street, the Junior High (then above the HS) and the newly built Glacier Valley Elementary School will recall. Wanting a better work-life balance, she convinced her Principal to let her job share with her best friend – for the early sixties quite ahead of her time!
Another innovative idea Gwen embraced was family council. It was quite the dynamic lesson in parliamentary procedure and the democratic process for the young family. Although the Chair slot rotated, she was always the Secretary, leaving the family with an extensive record of day-to-day life events.

As Red and Gwen's health declined, they moved to the Anchorage Pioneers' Home in 1998. Their oldest Max and his wife Shari made sure that their dog Peppi could visit them daily. Red passed away in 2000 and as Max and Shari had retired and moved south, Gwen made the move to the Judson Park Community in Des Moines, WA in October of 2003.
Gwen cherished her membership in the P.E.O. Sisterhood. She was the founding President of Alaska's Chapter N. She also was involved as a hospice volunteer and was a member of the Pioneers of Alaska, Auxiliary No. 6 and the Alaska-Yukon Pioneers.
Gwen was cherished by many. No doubt her husband Red, son Max, granddaughter Kim Ricci and son-in-law Billy Walker, along with her brother and parents were delighted to welcome her, as she passed from this earth on October 10, 2013.
She leaves behind her daughter Lloydean Ricci (Issaquah), son Bruce and his wife Judy (Juneau), daughter Lynn (Seattle), daughter-in-law Shari (Moses Lake) and sister-in-law Ruth (Silverdale). Additionally, she is survived by her grandchildren David (Leanna), Steven (Jenny), Todd, Yani (Paula), Elena (Ken) and Dominique. She also leaves behind seven great grandchildren: Jake, Kyle, Finn, Maisy, Sage, Kayla (David) and Anthony, along with a great-great granddaughter Rhylee.
Her remains, along with Red's, will be scattered at a family gathering next summer in Juneau.
Memorials may be made to Heifer International, 1 World Ave., Littlerock, AR. 72202.
Published in The Juneau Empire on Oct. 23, 2013
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