Azie Taylor Morton of Austin, Texas, died Sunday, December 7, 2003,at age 67. She was born on February 1, 1936,in St. John Colony near Dale, Texas, to Fleta Hazel Taylor. Mrs. Morton married the late James Homer Morton on May 29, 1965. They were married 38 years. Mrs. Morton is survived by her daughters and their husbands: Virgie Floyd (Phillip), Stacey Hurst (Eric); granddaughters Michelle Clark and Portia Jefferson; great-grandchildren Ronald Oliver, Kyree James, and Sole Michelle. She viewed the relationships with her offspring as her greatest accomplishment. President Jimmy Carter appointed Mrs. Morton as the 36th Treasurer of the United States, a position she held from 1977 to 1981. She has the distinction of being the only African American to ever hold the post. After graduating high school at age 16 with an outstanding record, she enrolled at Huston-Tillotson College, a historically black college in Austin. Mrs. Morton graduated cum laude with a Bachelor of Science degree in commercial education in 1956. She applied to graduate school at the University of Texas and was denied admission because she allegedly needed more undergraduate courses. However, the University cited its policy of not enrolling ``Negroes to its undergraduate programs.' Undaunted, Mrs. Morton began a career that spanned forty-five years and included a vast array of experiences and accomplishments. Mrs. Morton's first job was as a teacher at the Texas State School for Delinquent Girls. She went on to serve on Lyndon B. Johnson's senatorial campaign and President John F. Kennedy's Committee on Equal Employment Opportunity. She was a member of the American Delegation to Rome for the Enthronement of Pope John Paul II; Chair of a People- to-People Mission to the Soviet Union and China; an Election Observer for the presidential elections in Haiti, Senegal, and the Dominican Republic; and a representative to the first African/African American Conference held in Africa. With one exception (1968), Mrs. Morton attended and had been officially involved in every Democratic National Convention since 1964. She often referred to herself as a `convention junkie` but was passionate about public service and the necessity of giving back to the community that made so much possible for her. Additional positions she held included: Commissioner of Virginia Department of Labor and Industry, owner/operator of two Wendy's Old Fashioned Hamburgers franchises, Director of Resource Coordination for Reading Is Fundamental, President of Exeter Capital Asset Management Co., and Owner of Ram Book Store at Huston-Tillotson College. She served on numerous boards including Schlotzsky's Deli, Foundation for Religious Studies, National Democratic Institute, and Kids Care. Mrs. Morton was a member of the Horatio Alger Society of Distinguished Americans and Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, and was a member of Mt. Zion Missionary Baptist Church in Austin. She will be greatly missed by her family, friends, and colleagues, the communities and students to which she devoted her time and talents. Mrs. Morton was profoundly committed to making sure that young adults are socially, academically, and professionally prepared to participate in broader society. Therefore, in honor of her commitment, and endowed scholarship fund has been established in her name at Huston-Tillotson College. In lieu of flowers, contributions may be made to the Azie Taylor Morton Scholarship Fund, Office of the President, Huston-Tillotson College, 900 Chicon Street, Austin, TX 78702. Viewing will take place on Friday at King-Tears Mortuary from 9:00 am. to 5:00 pm. A memorial service, which will include the Alpha Kappa Alpha Ivy Beyond the Wall Ceremony, will be held at 5:30 p.m. Friday, December 12, 2003, at Huston-Tillotson College King - Seabrook Chapel. The funeral is scheduled for 12:00 p.m. Saturday, December 13, 2003, at St. John's Tabernacle 7501 Blessings Ave. in Austin. The interment will take place at St. John Colony Cemetery.
Published in Austin American-Statesman on Dec. 12, 2003.