Beloved and respected wife, mother and grandmother Elaine Morton, 80, of Williston Vermont passed away peacefully, surrounded by family and in the care of the McClure Miller Respite House, Colchester on the night of January 16 due to complications of lymphoma following a lengthy battle with the disease. She will be remembered for many things by those who loved her: a quick-witted sense of humor; the many stories she shared of relatives and friends near and distant; her devotion to family, in particular her beloved grandchildren; and her tender affection for the living creatures she took into her care throughout her life.
Elaine was born Elaine Betty Ranalli November 8, 1938 in Bronx New York City, the second child of Rose and Bartholomew Ranalli. Elaine was born into a large but close extended family of aunts, uncles and cousins. She leaves behind William Morton devoted husband of 58 years; children Steven Morton of New Bern, North Carolina; Paul Morton of Leander, Texas; Janet Morton-Smith of Charlotte, Vermont; Vince Morton of Portland, Oregon; and foster son Jerome Macleod of Burlington, Vermont; grandchildren Benjamin Morton-Black; Jacob Morton-Black, Caitlyn Morton-Smith; Marina Rose Morton; James Morton and Elizabeth (Lizzy) Morton; brothers Ralph Ranalli of Anaheim, California and Charles Ranalli of Albuquerque, New Mexico
As a young woman Elaine met her husband-to-be William while living and working near Los Angeles California, far from her home and extended Italian family in the Bronx. She eventually returned to New York City where she and Bill married April 8, 1961 at Our Lady of Mercy, Bronx. William was welcomed completely by Elaine's extended family, and they soon started a family of their own.
In 1975 Elaine, Bill and family, and together with her parents Rose and Bartholomew, relocated from the Hudson Valley region of New York State to Northern Vermont to continue raising their family in a more rural setting. Concern for the health of her family led Elaine to pursue a lifelong passion for organic gardening and eventually for raising animals, in order to achieve her goal of hand raised food and a healthy home environment. This passion continues among Elaine's children.
Elaine's creative and technical talents continued to develop throughout her life. She studied engineering at Hunter College in New York City and later graduated from Katherine Gibbs Executive Secretarial School. This education prepared her for her work at Autonetics in Downey, California as an Engineering Technician. When her children were teen aged she returned to school to continue her college education at the University of Vermont, eventually earning a Bachelors of Arts in Business Administration in 1986. Subsequently employed by the University in operations and Physical Plant she oversaw the creation of the Bicentennial Quilt as part of the 1991 University of Vermont Bicentennial. The quilt remains on display at the Waterman Building at the University.
Years of practical experience with her aunts and grandmother taught her the skills for creating garments by hand. Elaine's creative passions were evident in the hand sewn clothing she made for her children; handcrafted gifts for grandchildren, and hand crafted items she made available to the public at craft fairs throughout Vermont. Her children and grandchildren have fond memories of times they had with Elaine preparing family meals, either from traditional Italian recipes or ones specially adapted to the bounty of their large organic garden and family farm.
In her later years Elaine took special joy and delight in caring for her grandchildren: watching them grow and sharing stories of her life and the lives of the family they are a part of. Memories of Elaine will always remain in the hearts of family and friends.
Visiting Hours will be held at the AW Rich Funeral Home in Essex Junction, Vermont from 1:00 to 3:00 Saturday, January 19th. A Memorial Ceremony will be held at the the funeral home at 3:00 the same day.
The family give their deepest thanks and appreciation to Dr. Julien Sprague and the staff at UVM Cancer Center and to the staff and volunteers of the McClure Miller Respite House, Colchester, for the extraordinary sensitivity and compassion shown toward Elaine during her time there.
In lieu of flowers, the family requests donations be made in her name to the McClure Miller Respite House in Colchester, Vermont.