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Published: Tuesday, 3/6/2007

Nurse pioneered services for stroke, cancer patients

Lois A. Morris, who developed specialized services for stroke victims and cancer patients while a nurse at the former Riverside Hospital, died Sunday at the Heartland of Perrysburg from complications of a staph infection. She was 79.

Mrs. Morris was born in Scranton, Pa., and received her nursing degree from Keystone College. She moved with her family to Toledo and, in 1954, took a job as a staff nurse at Riverside Hospital. She stayed there until her retirement in 1985.

In 1971, Mrs. Morris was instrumental in developing services for stroke victims, elderly, and cancer patients while working as the discharge/rehabilitation coordinator at Riverside.

Her leadership led Riverside and two other organizations to create a club for stroke victims.

She also was an instructor at the counter-stroke program at the University of Toledo.

Family members said she also won praise in the community for her work with mastectomy patients during her career.

Before her nursing career began in Toledo, she was a member of the Cadet Nurse Corps in 1945 near the end of World War II.

But Mrs. Morris never bragged about her many accomplishments in the nursing field.

"When she retired from Riverside Hospital, they did a luncheon for her. It was more of a roast than a luncheon," Kevin Morris, her son, said.

"They had a card there with all of the things she had done and I didn't know it. I'm sure she was proud of that, too, but you'd never know. She never tooted her own horn."

After retiring, she spent time volunteering as a nurse at St. Elizabeth Seton and St. Michael's schools, Pam Edwards, her daughter, said.

Family members described Mrs. Morris as generous with her time and money, giving countless volunteer hours to St. Michael's Church as well as neighborhood churches and schools.

Mr. Morris said he remembered how his mother and father, Jack, who died in 1998, dedicated two entire summers with a handful of other families to painting St. Michael's church and school.

He said that was a small example of a lifetime of service that defined her life.

"She was really active and very giving of her time," Ms. Edwards said.

She said her parents, who were married for 44 years, enjoyed traveling and volunteering.

"She didn't like sitting around," Ms. Edwards said. "They liked to travel to Niagara Falls, Gatlinburg, [Tenn.], and Branson, Mo."

Mr. Morris and Ms. Edwards said their mother will be remembered for her giving personality.

Mr. Morris said of all of his mother's talents, she will be known for the meals she used to bring him and others while he served as a camp counselor at Camp De Sales in Michigan.

"She would bring enough fried chicken to feed half of the [priests] there," Mr. Morris said.

She was a member of the Riverside Hospital Pastimers and an associate member of the Riverside School of Nursing Alumni Association. Surviving are her son, Kevin; daughter, Pam Edwards; six grandchildren, and three great-grandchildren.

The body will be in the David R. Jasin Funeral Home, 5300 North Summit St., from 2 to 7:30 p.m. tomorrow. Funeral services will be at 7:30 p.m. tomorrow in the funeral home. The family suggests tributes to St. Francis de Sales High School.



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