IAGenWeb ~ Decatur County IA ~ Clara Engle Morrell biography



Decatur County, Iowa

Part of the IAGenWeb Project


Contact Us
Decatur Co. Files:
Census Records
Courthouse Records
Family Pages
History Pages
Military Pages
Vital Records
This site is supported by
Friends of IAGenWeb

Search Decatur County's Site
site search by freefind advanced


Graceland University, Lamoni, Decatur County, Iowa

Clara Engle Morrell was born on September 30, 1916, in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

After studying one year at a Philadelphia business college, Clara joined the Graceland staff in 1949 as assistant to the business manager and soon became involved in recruiting Japanese students to the college. Clara left Graceland upon her 1962 marriage, but returned in 1965 following the death of her husband, Waldo Bruce Morrell.

Upon her 1965 return to campus, Clara began a career as administrative assistant to seven Graceland College presidents, beginning with Earl T. Higdon and retiring in May 1987 under Barbara Higdon. In addition to performing behind-the-scenes duties for Graceland's presidents over 22 years, Clara served as assistant secretary (later executive secretary) to the college's Board of Trustees from May 1972 to December 1992.

Clara was designated Lamoni's 1990 Citizen of the Year and was named an honorary Graceland alumni in 1993. She was awarded Graceland's Award of Recognition in 1999. After full retirement, Clara returned to campus, serving as a volunteer advisor for Japanese students.

Clara holds the distinction of being the only woman to ever play in a football game for the Yellowjackets. At the 1961 homecoming, she was asked to suit up as #99 at the Friday night pep rally, and coach Harry Larche asked her to sit on the team bench for the next day's game. After chants of "We Want 99!" from the crowd, and with a safe Graceland lead over Tarkio in the fourth quarter, Larche sent Clara into the game with specific instructions to run just 15 yards. In 1995, at the age of 79, Clara donned her Yellowjacket uniform once again for that year's homecoming pep rally.

SOURCE: Goehner, David. “The Graceland College Book of Knowledge: From A To Z.” Pp. 439-40. Herald House. Independence MO. 1997.

Transcription by Sharon R. Becker, January of 2016