Sylvia Margaret Traill Morton McCue passed away on Thursday, August 24, 2017, in Athens, Texas, after a long illness. She was born, the only daughter and youngest of four, on November 13th, 1936, to Dr. J.E.C. (Jack) and Dorothy F. (Heddle) Morton in Kingston, Jamaica. When Sylvia was three, the family left Jamaica due to the labor unrest taking place in the UK's British colonies which made the island unsafe. They settled in Brandon, Manitoba, Canada for the next several years where Sylvia became a competitive amateur figure skater and began studying classical piano. At the age of 14, her family emigrated again, this time to Topeka, Kansas, so Jack could begin a psychiatry residency at the renowned Menninger Medical Clinic, an interest he acquired during his WWII service. Living on the grounds of the mental hospital made it difficult to make friends since mental illness was largely misunderstood at the time and parents weren't open to letting their children visit, so Sylvia spent much of her time studying her classical piano, playing with the family hunting dogs, and continued competing in (now roller) skating competitions.
After high school graduation, she attended Colorado Women's School where she studied piano performance. She returned to Topeka after a year in school and was working as a dental hygienist when she met her husband, Larry. After a six-week-long whirlwind romance, they married on February 11th, 1961. They soon packed up and left Kansas for Arizona where their eldest daughter was born. Besides Flagstaff Arizona, they also resided in Liberal, Dodge City and Garden City, Kansas, as well as Red River, New Mexico. Throughout it all, Sylvia was the devoted and supportive partner Larry needed, whether managing a restaurant in New Mexico or providing bookkeeping and administrative help in his accounting practice or his stock brokerage office. They had two more daughters while living in Liberal and she was devoted to her children. She passed her love of music, animals and books on to them and did the things that loving moms do; she made matching dresses, attended every music or dance performance and athletic competition, made and beaded twirling costumes, and made the inevitable visits to the emergency room after accidents on the softball field or basketball court. As the girls got older, Mom was always there during life's joys and heartaches to help in whatever way she could.
Larry and Sylva were able to travel extensively during their years in Garden City, thanks to Larry's stock brokerage business, and saw much of Europe as well as the Caribbean. Their two favorite trips were going back to Jamaica with Dorothy and Jack on a Windjammer Cruise, and visiting Ireland.
After retirement, Sylvia and Larry moved to Branson, Missouri, living there for 10 years or so. When they weren't entertaining their children and grandchildren in Branson, they were headed off in their motor home to see the country with their dog, Tuffy. During this time, Sylvia took up quilting and made sure that each of the children and grandchildren had at least one handmade quilt to treasure. She truly loved spending time with her grandchildren. Later in their retirement, Larry and Sylvia moved to Athens, Texas, and rescued Mollie, a little Yorkie/Schnauzer mix from the Henderson County Humane Society. Mollie became the new focus of Mom's daily attention and was spoiled rotten by both. They also greatly enjoyed playing bridge and socializing with their friends from the United Methodist Church and spending time with their daughters, sons-in-law and grandchildren.
Sylvia leaves behind her husband, Larry, and her daughters, Amy (husband, Keith) Johnson, Jill (husband, Todd) Davidson, Lisa (husband, Dr. Thad) Hardin, and Joanne (husband, Scott) Morelo, as well as her brothers Mike Morton of Newton, Ks, and Chris (wife, Penny) Morton of Tasmania, Australia. Her brother Patrick Morton of Ontario, Canada preceded her in death. Her grandchildren are Nicholas Peters, Noah and Aidan Davidson, and Allison, Gavin and Gage Hardin.
Sylvia's life will be celebrated at a memorial service held at the First United Methodist Church at 225 Lovers Lane in Athens, Texas, on Saturday, September 16th at 2:00 p.m. In lieu of flowers, you can make donations to FUMC or to the Henderson County Humane Society at P.O. Box 162, Athens, TX 75751.
Published on September 11, 2017