Mary Morrison
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Obituary of Mary Parker Morrison

Mary ( Chris) Parker Morrison

November 7, 1931-February 3, 2018


Mary Christine Parker Morrison, 86, died Saturday, February, 3, 2018 in Stamford, Connecticut. Born November 7, 1931 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, daughter of James Erwin Parker and Edna Louise Holtorf Parker. She grew up in South Glens Falls, New York, graduated Emma Willard School 1950, Smith College, 1954 and University of Maryland 1970.


After graduating from Smith College, Chris moved to Washington, D.C. to start a new job with Western World Magazine and what she thought would be the beginning of a career in journalism.  Despite struggling against a culture that often preferred to task bright and highly educated young women with secretarial work, she persevered determined to make her way as an independent and capable professional journalist.


In 1956, Chris met John Morrison, a WWII veteran and Harvard Law graduate whom she married in 1958.  Together they reveled in youthful romance and took in all Washington had to offer. They enjoyed extensive travel, eventually moving to Germany in 1961. Their children were born during this period. The family returned to the U.S. in 1964, eventually settling in McLean, Virginia where she and John resided most of their married life.


After nurturing her daughters through their early years, Chris felt a longing to re-establish herself in a professional career.  She returned to school in 1967, earning a Master’s degree in Library Science from the University of Maryland in 1970.  From there, she began a long and successful career with the National Endowment for the Arts, quickly rising to the rank of library director, a role in which she served until her retirement in the mid 1990’s. After retirement, she and John returned to their early love of foreign travel while also making many trips to spend time with their children and grandchildren.


The Unitarian Universalist Church was one of Chris’ greatest life passions. She, along with her husband John, was a devoted long-time member of Arlington Unitarian Universalist Church.  She was a church leader the during the 1970’s and 1980’s, ultimately serving as chair of the board of trustees. She developed deep and meaningful life-long friendships through the church’s women’s spirituality group, women’s book club, and women’s writing group that nourished her through the many joys and challenges of her adult life. When she and John moved to Stamford, Connecticut in 2013 they joined the Stamford Unitarian Universalist Church, seeking connection and a sense community with a faith that had become a central part of their lives.


For her three daughters, Chris was a nurturing mother, spirited role model, sage guide and soulful companion. She will be remembered for her gentle nature, keen intellect, unshakable curiosity, and sincere respect for all those she encountered on her life journey.  She will be dearly missed.


Chris Morrison’s husband, John Morrison, oldest daughter, Christine Morrison, and brothers William Parker and James Parker predeceased her. She is survived by her daughters, Susan Morrison and wife Kelly Miess of Madison, Wisconsin, Margaret Morrison, and husband Phil Alexandre of Old Greenwich, Connecticut, and her three grandchildren, Ian, Johnny and Nicole. She is further survived by her sister Susan Putnam and husband Nathan Putnam of Frederick, Maryland as well as nieces Alison Putnam and Katherine Putnam, and nephew James Parker.


A memorial service is being planned for early summer 2018 in Arlington, Virginia.


In lieu of flowers, please consider a donation to Stamford Unitarian Universalist Church, 20 Forest St, Stamford, CT 06901. Phone: (203) 348-0708. Website:  Arrangements are under the direction of Thomas M. Gallagher Funeral Home, Stamford.  To send on-line condolences the family, please visit


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