Marianne Evelyn Morris

Born: Thursday, October 22, 1959
Passed: Saturday, October 6, 2018

10/13/2018 | 1:30 PM - 3:30 PM
North Main Chapel  , Rockford IL 
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Marianne Evelyn Morris 1959-2018
Marianne was born on October, 22, 1959, In Elmhurst, Illinois, the seventh daughter of Kenneth and Phyllis (nee Slicer) Morris. She was born with Down's Syndrome, a genetic disorder of the 21st chromosome. At her birth, her parents were told that her life expectancy would be about 20 years.
At that time, the family lived in Carpentersville, Illinois. There were no schools available for those with her disability so, with a household full of young children, her parents gratefully accepted the help of Dorothy and William Slicer, Jr., and their sons, Ronald and Donald, who welcomed toddler Marianne as a member of their family. With their love and patient teaching, Marianne gained enough life skill to return to her family as a functioning, special, member.
When Marianne was 7, the family relocated to Rockford, Illinois. For the first time her life, Marianne was able to go to school. She attended School of Hope for three years and developed close relationships with several of her teachers, particularly Mrs. Turner. She eventually attended classes at Jefferson High School and graduated in 1980.
Despite her disability, Marianne possessed a strong and very independent - if not stubborn - spirit. She shared in the responsibilities and chores of being raised in a large family and expected reciprocity in like kind. When she decided she would ride a bicycle, for example, she taught herself, which no one imagined her capable of. She underscored her achievement by riding her bicycle across Whitman Street Bridge. Her family has yet to fully recover from the shock of that episode.
She had a love of pop music that only a true fan can possess, with a particular penchant for various boy bands over the years. Due to her developmental window, she was able to love the Jackson Five, Backstreet Boys, NSync, and One Direction with equal fervor. Donnie and Marie were also a particular favorite and remained so throughout her life.
Marianne was an excellent natural dancer with an exceptional sense of rhythm. She did a better robot than anyone around.
Marianne was employed throughout her adult life, most notably at Growth Enterprises and through Milestone, Inc. Her jobs were primarily involved in light manufacturing - weighing, packing, sorting, etc. She retired at age 50, when health issues began to interfere with her work.
It was through her association with Milestone that Marianne was able to realize a fully engaged, adult life. She loved to travel and could name Holland, Hawaii, New York, and Las Vegas among the places she visited. During mid-life, she lived relatively independently, sharing living spaces with other developmentally challenged women. When she was no longer able to live in this manner, she resided in a number of different group homes operated by Milestone in the Rockford area.
It was Milestone, too, along with Transitions Hospice that provided the care the Marianne needed during the final year of her life. Their unflagging support and dedication, their compassion and love, eased Marianne's battle with progressive illness. They also eased her family's path through this journey, most particularly for her sister Cecile, who served unwaveringly, with love, and without complaint as Marianne's guardian for eleven years.
For this, and many other selfless acts done for Marianne's protection and well-being, her family is eternally grateful. The family would like to thank all who cared for Marianne and her charming spirit, especially Annette Dunlap from Milestone and Lacy Nelson from Transitions Hospice.
Marianne left behind many who loved her - her sisters Andrea Leslie, Cecile Flowers, Elizabeth Dietz, Christine Clark, and Barbara Morris, her brother David Morris, mother Phyllis Morris, and her step-mother Karen Morris, and numerous cousins, nieces, and nephews and one grandniece. She is predeceased by her beloved father, Kenneth Morris.
Marianne was truly a ray of sunshine in our lives. She was never far from a smile and had a heart as wide as the sky. She will remain always in our hearts as a source of love and inspiration.
Memorial Visitation will be held from 1:30 to 3:30 p.m. on Saturday, October 13, 2018 in Olson North Main Chapel, 2811 N. Main St, Rockford. Words of Remembrance will be at 3:00 p.m. Memorials can be made with great gratitude to, Milestone, Inc., 4060 McFarland Rd, Rockford, IL 61111.

Condolences & Shared Memories (6)

  1. Carole Cory

    All those who knew Marianne were blessed. She led a remarkable life and was an inspiration to friends and family.

  2. Carolyn & Les Dryden

    We got to know Marianne thru our son Gary M. Lee also a Milestone client. He considered her his girlfriend. Watching them on the dance floor was like watching Mutt & Jeff. Him so tall at 6" and her 4'11". We so enjoyed seeing her at ball games, talking to her at Illinois Growth when we were there popping popcorn for all among many other activities. She was so thrilled when she retired and at the party they had for her. We will miss seeing her contagious smile, sparkling eyes and her wonderful hugs! Marianne, God needed you with him. Say hi to Gary for us. We now have another wonderful angel watching over us! Love and prayers to all.

  3. Marigold Cole

    Fond memories of dancing with you... Love you, Aunt Woody

  4. Donald and Peggy Slicer

    Our loss is significant ... God bless Marianne as she joins her Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, in heaven.

  5. Deb & Dave Schneider

    We are so blessed to have met Marianne many years ago and spent some fun times with her and my children, Jeremy and Kelli. We danced together and had a great time! And good ole Marianne always had money "I gotta Dolla". God Bless you, Marianne! 😘😅

  6. Lisa oliver

    I'm so very sorry for your loss, losing those we love is the hardest thing we have to experience. May you find comfort in Jesus words, john 5:28, 29

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