Moreland, Louise



Louise Wattles Moreland loved the cool water of Lake Burton, "Phantom of the Opera," chocolate caramels and a glass of Perrier with a lime. She could hitch a trailer packed with food and folk art to her car and drive to the lake with two young children and two dogs and cook gourmet meals twice a day and still look elegant because she was. Her grandchildren called her Lovey. It was uniquely appropriate. Louise saw the beauty of God's work all around her. She gave her love abundantly and inspired many to do the same. Louise died on March 28, 2023 in Newton, Massachusetts. She was 75.

Louise was born to Eugenia "DeeDee" Pepper and Walter Wattles on August 7, 1947 in Hartford, Connecticut. She grew up with her two younger sisters, Ann Pepper and Eugenia, in Atlanta. Together, they told stories of life on Club Drive, family camping trips and annual summer pilgrimages to their mother's old farmhouse in Delaware where they would collect eggs from the chicken coop, ride the waves at Rehoboth Beach and sunburn to a crisp.

Although Louise proudly called Atlanta her hometown, for two years during grade school, she and her family lived in San Francisco – a dramatic change of scenery and culture that instilled in her a bright sense of adventure and the resourcefulness to bloom wherever she was planted. Upon her return to Atlanta, Louise attended The Lovett School, matriculated first to Bradford Junior College in Massachusetts and then transferred to Vanderbilt University in Nashville, where she joined the Kappa Alpha Theta sorority and from which she graduated in 1969. At Vanderbilt she met her husband, Steven C. Moreland. Although they later divorced, Louise and Steve raised their two daughters, Laura and Sarah, in a tightly knit, loving, and joyful family for many years.

For Louise, mothering was an action verb. In fact, Louise's friends and her daughters' friends have often said that it was Louise who taught them how to mother their children. She was endlessly giving and forgiving, pouring her love into her girls, making sure each one knew how proud she was of them just for being themselves. Throughout her children's childhood, Louise frequently planned simple, humble adventures like taking the bus to get ice cream, exploring a backyard stream, or packing a picnic to be enjoyed perched in a tree.

During humid Atlanta summers, Louise fervently fanned herself and fluffed her blonde curls while she laughed, "It's hot as hinges!" She was drawn to the mountains and waters of north Georgia and North Carolina that are verdant, cool, and wild with rhododendron, mountain laurel and galax. Driving into the mountains, she would roll down the windows and cheerfully encourage everyone to breathe in the cool mountain air. If ever there was a porch, you would find Louise. It was there she felt most at home, relaxed and peaceful.

Louise was thoughtful, creative, and playful. Eschewing attention, she preferred to celebrate someone else. Two of her greatest gifts were her instinct to make other people feel valued and her intuition when someone might need a lift. Her cards were famous among friends and family – they were always funny, often irreverently so, and occasionally included a cut-out photograph of her wearing her pink rollers glued to the front. Louise kept a detailed list of every friend's birthday tucked into a file box of the hilarious cards she collected. Never one to sign just her name, she would write the things she loved about you.

In her late 40s, Louise was a researcher for The New York Times, Atlanta bureau. Some of her happiest years as a mother included the juggle of work and children. She loved stepping into the slipstream of a national news organization and the heady urgency of tracking down information on deadline. She had a keen ear for a good story, but she was a dreadful typist, a frustration that often kept her at work well past dinner. During those years, her daughters became adept in the kitchen, cooking their mother's fully-prepped lemon chicken. For years after leaving the paper, Louise continued to collect quirky news clippings to share with friends and family, and her girls received annual subscriptions to The New York Times from their mom for decades.

Both elegant and casual, Louise instinctively knew the beauty of good design and she had an astute eye for color. She loved the detailed, creative process of making a home for her family and could unfailingly make any room from apartments to dorms more sophisticated, functional and welcoming. Her own home was gracious and charming and always full of warmth and her own loose, lovely flower arrangements.

Louise adored her six grandchildren and took time to know each one deeply – and they adored her. She cheered at soccer games, jumped off docks into cold water holding their hands, sledded down hills with them whooping with laughter, and traveled constantly to San Francisco, Shanghai, Boston and Westfield, New Jersey.

Wherever she lived, in high school and college, at school meetings, as a member of Colonial Dames, and at All Saints Episcopal Church where Louise happily served on the Altar Guild for many years, she found close friends whose friendships stood the test of time. Louise loved her two sisters, her niece and nephews, and they loved her. She and her younger sister Eugenia lifted each other up and could always make each other laugh, especially when life was tough.

Two years ago, Louise shouldered a heartbreaking Alzheimer's diagnosis and made the difficult and brave decision to leave Atlanta and move to Boston to be with Laura, Sarah; their husbands, Alec and Hans; and her grandchildren: Quinn, Elliott, Lillian, Arthur, Henry and Colt. The time together was a gift – rich, memorable, precious, and way too short. When Laura and Sarah witnessed the true nature of the disease, they began to appreciate how hard their mother's quiet battle must have been during the undiagnosed years of her illness. Louise's strong, warm hugs, her unending support, her kind smile, and wonderful laugh will be deeply missed. She was loved to the highest.

For all the people who supported Louise during her struggle – Kathleen Mwangi, Cherran Carter, Jackie Porto, Lourdes Barjum and Juliet Kayizzi – who lovingly and patiently cared for her, showing her the respect and kindness she had shown so many others during her life, her family is grateful.

A Memorial Service and reception will be held at All Saints Episcopal Church, in Atlanta at 11 AM, on Monday, May 22. In lieu of flowers, Louise's family invites you to contribute to two important organizations. Daughters Against Alzheimer's supports the Emory Goizueta Alzheimer's Disease Research Center. Julie's Dream creates opportunities for Atlanta's children to experience the joy of outdoor adventure and the beauty of God's creation.

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