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Morrell,E. Ray


Posted By: Mary H. Cochrane, Volunteer
Date: 7/19/2019 at 10:18:02

Biography ~ E. Ray Morrell
Grand River, Iowa

Des Moines Tribune
Des Moines, Polk County, Iowa
January 27, 1965

by Herb OWENS

GRAND RIVER, IA. – E. Ray MORRELL, former teacher, farmer, postmaster and branch bank manager here, has retired and lives alone on his farm a mile north of here, but he never has a minute of boredom. MORRELL, in fact, has had to lop off a few hobbies because – as he nears his seventy-eighth birthday anniversary Feb. 11 – he has been unable to give them proper attention.

For instance, the stamp collection that he started in boyhood has been given to a Masonic friend. And his coin collection has been passed on to a son and grandsons in California. MORRELL has a pile of newspaper clippings that await insertion into three large scrapbooks he has kept for years. Also he has more than 2,000 matchbook covers – not counting duplicates – in a collection that wasn’t started until 1957.

Keeping up a salt and pepper shaker collection started by his wife, the late Gussie FOLAND MORRELL, he has 80 or more items that he intends to number and identify as to source. Many of them were given by friends.

MORRELL also has 25 ash trays – special ash trays that are shaped like the states from which they came.

He teaches the “senior citizen class” in the Grand River Baptist Sunday School, and the midweek Bible study class. He is a lecturer in the Grand River Masonic Lodge – and he memorizes poetry just to keep his mind alert. For local events, MORRELL bakes good apple pies.

Though he’s an interesting conversationalist, MORRELL fills in any lonely evening hours by playing Scrabble – playing three sticks and keeping score for each stick. He also plays solitaire, and he’s a dedicated flower grower.

Born at Prescott, Kan., MORRELL was the son of a Missouri-Pacific railroad mechanic. The MORRELLS lived on a North Dakota homestead, then near Marshfield, Mo., for several years before heading for the Leadville, Colo., mining region. Iowa was a later stop, and Ray was graduated from Grand River High School in 1905.

While in high school, MORRELL took a correspondence course in railway mail clerk employment. He also took the examination for prospective teachers. He passed both.

“Right after I got out of high school, I started teaching at a nearby rural school at $22 a month, living at home,” he said. “When I got a call to substitute on the Burlington Railroad as a mail clerk, I got a substitute for the school and moved to Burlington, working on a run between Chicago and Burlington. Later I transferred to a run between Burlington and Council Bluffs.”

After five years as a mail clerk, MORRELL went to North Dakota, where he had purchased “railroad land.” He built a sod house, with walls 14 inches thick, wood flooring and plastered interior. But after five years, none too successful, he returned to Grand River, his pregnant wife having preceded him by several months.

MORRELL had taught school nine months in North Dakota. When he returned here, he took over the old Foland School – which both he and Mrs. MORRELL had attended.

In President Woodrow WILSON’S administration, MORRELL became acting postmaster of Grand River. Under President Warren HARDING, he got the permanent appointment – which lasted 14 years, two years into the Franklin D. ROOSEVELT administration.

Retired from the postal job in 1934, MORRELL went to work remodeling the farm home of his family. He farmed until 1945, when the Decatur County State Bank of Leon named him manager of the Grand River branch. He served eight years before retiring again.

Mrs. [Gussie] MORRELL died eight years ago. MORRELL has two daughters, Mrs. Hazel HACKE of Glendale, Calif., and Mrs. Bernadine BURCHETT of Redwood Falls, Minn., and two sons, Walter of Fullerton, Calif., and Don, a neighbor who farms his father’s 100-acre place. There are 10 grandchildren and three great-grandchildren.

~ ~ ~ ~
Picture Magazine, Des Moines Sunday Register
Des Moines, Polk County, Iowa
July 11, 1976

When babies were born at home, the attending neighbor women always burned the father’s hat. E. Ray MORRELL of Grand River, Iowa, was the one who told me this, explaining that the ladies burned it because the old hat would no longer fit the proud new father’s head.

SOURCES: genealogical clippings and notes of Pearle Veva (BRAMON) FOLAND and Norma G. (FOLAND) BECKER

Transcriptions and submission by Sharon R. Becker


Decatur Biographies maintained by Constance McDaniel Hall.
WebBBS 4.33 Genealogy Modification Package by WebJourneymen

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