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November 26th, 2020

shelter insurance jose lara new====FROM AUG. 21, 2016====

By ELLY GRIMM

  • Leader & Times

 

Since 1915, there have been many major historical events that have occurred throughout the U.S., including both world wars, the Great Depression, the assassination of John F. Kennedy, and the 9/11 attacks on the World Trade Center.

Liberal resident Lois Morrissey has seen them all, throughout her 101 years of life.

Born Aug. 27, 1915 to farmer parents in the north part of Liberal, close to where the Walmart Supercenter currently resides, Lois Morrissey has seen many events and a lot of history play out. However, one part of her life she especially remembers is growing up during the Great Depression and the “Dirty Thirties.”

“We had wheat that could sell for $3 per bushel, and then overnight, it plummeted to $0.25 per bushel,” Morrissey recalled. “And farm families had to struggle with managing such changes in those prices. My parents did reasonably well, they had a good farm, and then all of a sudden we were destitute. My home just east of where the Walmart is now, and we were reasonably well off. Then when the farm prices went crazy, the people who didn’t have backup, they were in bad shape. They hadn’t expected that to happen, and had over-farmed their ground and not taken the best care of it.”

That era especially, Morrissey said, taught her to take care of what she did have.

“It certainly wasn’t very easy, especially during the dust storms,” Morrissey said. “Our house was actually a pretty good-sized house, but we had to move to the basement to protect ourselves from the dirt. And even in cold weather, we had to seek refuge there. We made the most of what we could and went about our way.”

Part of that became necessary when Morrissey’s older sister passed away when she was 20.

“We lost my older sister when I was 20, and she left three little boys, so I worked with my brother-in-law and helping with the children along with their housekeeper,” Morrissey recalled. “I had been close to my older sister since I was 3, and it was hard when she passed away, she was eight years older than I was.”

While in high school, Morrissey was able to take shorthand and typing and bookkeeping, which gave her the opportunity to grow her skills. Then Morrissey moved to Hutchinson and went to business school. During high school, Morrissey said she also worked for her brother-in-law, who was a theater manager, at a Fox Theaters building. The theater, unfortunately, met its end one night.

“We had a tornado the night we graduated from high school, which wrecked the theater I worked at, it was demolished,” Morrissey said. “So I had no job, no place to work. My brother-in-law had moved to Dodge City, so they came and got me and took me with them, and I lived there for several years.”

Later in life, Morrissey would marry her husband, Robert, who served in the U.S. Air Force and then later on served as the Liberal Police Department’s Chief of Police. Robert passed away when he was 83, and Morrissey recalled a particularly fond memory with him.

“My husband actually bought me a set of golf clubs for when I retired, took me out, and we played one game, after which my clubs went back to the garage and never seen again,” Morrissey said with a laugh. “He said ‘I thought you would be able to play golf,’ but that didn’t happen.”

Now about to turn 101 next Saturday, Morrissey currently lives at Brookdale-Liberal Springs with a feline friend named Lily. She is frequently able to visit with friends and family and play bridge and other card games with fellow residents.

Morrissey also mentioned a few things she would like to still see in her lifetime.

“I would like to see peace in this world so my family won’t be in constant turmoil,” Morrissey said. “I think we all pray for that.”

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