Caring seemed to be in Linda Morris’ DNA. Not only did she care deeply for friends and family, but she also spent the past 19 years caring for the families who came through the Atlanta Ronald McDonald Houses.
Morris, president and chief executive of Atlanta Ronald McDonald House Charities, was a top-notch leader and worked hard to help families that needed services, friends, co-workers and board members said.
“You’d hear her say, ‘We just have to raise a little more money!’ and you’d just want to do it because she was working so hard,” said Susan Gordy, a long-time friend. “And she didn’t let anything stop her, not even her own sickness.”
Gordy said Morris was still working a couple of weeks ago, trying to make sure things were in order for a new 31 room Ronald McDonald House planned on Peachtree Dunwoody Road near Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta at Scottish Rite.
“It may not have been that long ago that she finally had to stop,” Gordy said. “But she was right there overseeing every little bit she could. She really wanted to see that house built.”
Linda Miller Morris, of Atlanta, died Monday from complications of breast cancer. She was 65. A memorial service is planned for 11 a.m., at Peachtree Presbyterian Church. A private entombment will be held before the service. H.M. Patterson & Son, Arlington Chapel, is in charge of arrangements.
During her time of leadership at Atlanta Ronald McDonald House Charities, Morris was often called a visionary. According to the charity, Morris was the force behind a two-phase house expansion, starting with a Ronald McDonald House near Emory University that opened in 2008. Work on the next phase, rebuilding and expanding the property on Peachtree Dunwoody Road, is set to start soon.
“She not only had a great team, but she had a great passion for the families who came through the Atlanta house,” said Richard L. Sparkmon, long-time Atlanta Ronald McDonald House Charities board member. “Those families who were experiencing desperate heath concerns in the lives of their children, giving them comfort, I think that is what drove her.”
Kimberly Nuckols, vice president of administration for Atlanta Ronald McDonald House Charities, said Morris spent her life “helping and supporting other people.”
“She was always connecting people,” Nuckols said. “If she knew someone she thought you should know, she made it happen. She was so supportive of other people and their goals.”
A native of Lavonia, Morris brought a lot of “small town love to the big city,” said Lou Glenn, a friend of nearly 30 years.
“She never lost touch with Lavonia, or the spirit of how she grew up,” Glenn said. “She was so positive.”
Before working with the Atlanta Ronald McDonald House Charities, Morris held leadership positions with the former Scottish Rite Children’s Healthcare System and she was on a number of committees and a member of several organizations.
“With all that Linda did, she really took to heart your triumphs and celebrations,” Gordy said. “She also took to heart when things weren’t going you way. But she wouldn’t let that keep you down. Linda had a happy heart.”
Morris is survived by her sister, Libby Miller Glenn of metro Atlanta.
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