Morley L. Piper
Morley L. Piper of 52 Lufkin Point Road, Essex, passed away on May 12,
2022 at Lahey Medical Center in Peabody. He had been fighting
increasingly hard to manage age related health problems with the same
stoicism and humility he demonstrated throughout his life; in the end he
let go peacefully with the family who adored him by his side. For his
loved ones, friends, and colleagues, he was a legend whose legacy will not
Born October 18, 1924, in Canton Illinois, he came up an only child in the
hard days of the Depression. His mother was a teacher in a rural one-room
schoolhouse and inspired in him a lifelong commitment to education, hard
work and devotion to family. He was forced to abandon his dream of a
college degree after two years when the United States entered World War II
and he enlisted in the army. But he was a loyal alumnus of Illinois
College all during his life and always knew the latest basketball team
Loyalty was one of Morley’s defining traits. He was fiercely devoted to
his family and kept lifelong friends close. He was stalwart, determined,
ambitious, brave, and had a unique brand of humor. In some ways he was at
his best when life presented the most difficult challenges; leadership was
another of his hallmarks.
war years spent in France marked him forever. A decorated Army 2nd
lieutenant who fought in Normandy and Eastern France, he was a true
patriot and proudly marched in every Memorial Day Parade in Essex. On his
many trips over the years back to France he always made a solemn visit to
the Normandy American Cemetery in Colleville.
Morley developed a love of Paris and France and kept a service position
with the U.S. Army at war’s end. There he met his match in a high-spirited
young Polish woman, Wanda Woleyko. Wanda was a Red Cross “girl” working in
a recreational center for army servicemen called Rainbow Corner in the 8th
arrondissement. They were married in Paris and returned to the
United States to start their life together in Hamilton in 1947. They were
married for sixty-nine years, had two children Patricia and Jonathan, and
had made homes in Hamilton, Salem and Essex.
interest in journalism led Morley to found a local newspaper, the Hamilton
Wenham Chronicle, in 1949; from there he navigated to the Boston Globe
where he harbored dreams of becoming a star reporter. However, young and
hungry, he seized the first job opportunity available, which was in the
Globe advertising department, and he was off and running. The newspaper
industry would become his passion and career for life, although he never
got that byline. A dear friend and colleague wrote upon his passing: “If
heaven’s Gazette has a church page, they have found their greatest
salesman.” (It was an in-joke that Morley suggested selling ads on
newspaper church pages to help the papers survive as print journalism
began to wain.)
From the Globe, Morley went on to lead the New England Newspaper
Association (NENA) as Executive Director for some 45 years also serving as
clerk for Newspaper Association Managers (NAM) for 22 years. He thrived in
that environment; he loved the energy, the buzz, the…gossip. His offices
were in Boston, later Salem, and in “retirement” at the old Salem News
building in Beverly. In the heyday of print journalism, Morley travelled
the country organizing or attending newspaper conventions, seminars,
training programs. He was a leader and an educator, could warm up a room
quickly with a perfectly articulated wry joke, and made friends everywhere
he went. People sought his advice and guidance, and he was always happy to
“put in a word” to help someone advance their career. He earned more
awards and accolades than possible to mention, which he would not have
liked to publicize.
was trusted, loved and admired for his knowledge, work ethic, quiet
kindness, vast generosity, and sometimes smarting sense of humor. He had a
nickname for most everyone, whether they knew it or not. (Profumo, Quag,
Muldoon, Lunesta, Bow tie, Eljunia…. Are your ears ringing?)
After newspapers, Morley loved old-time Dixieland jazz, all the beloved
family pets, architectural treasures of old movie theatres, popcorn,
vanilla ice cream, the best classic restaurants. Or a catfish fry in
Illinois. He took a keen interest in politics at every level, a “yellow
dog” democrat who usually voted the “straight ticket.” He could always be
counted on to defend and help the underdog.
Morley’s marriage to Wanda was as vibrant and colorful as it was long.
They enjoyed city-living in Salem, and later the calmer backwaters of
Lufkin Point in Essex. Wanda’s Polish roots had a large impact, and their
homes were always filled with people from all walks of life.
Their son Jonathan predeceased them in 2008, a great sorrow and his wife
Wanda passed in 2015. Morley soldiered on.
He travelled whenever he could to newspaper gatherings and looked
on in dismay and shock at the dramatic decline of print newspapers.
is survived by his daughter, Patricia Robert of Essex; two granddaughters,
Laura Robert of Essex and Audrey Robert Ramirez and her husband Axel
Ramirez-Palacio; two great-grandchildren, Camille Piper and Lorenzo
Maximiliano all of Arlington; a niece, Priscilla Koster of Ipswich and her
husband Walter, and his wonderful caregiver, Jane Rose Sweet of
Gloucester. His gentle companion in later years, cat Taz, died a few days
one ever loved his family more; “Medrick” (he had a nickname too!)
adored each one and gave to them his whole heart his whole life. His
legacy of love, generosity, kindness, strength, perseverance, and humor
will be everlasting. He left the world a better place, and he is no doubt
“putting in a word” for us in the stars.
really is the end of the era with the loss of Morley, one of the very best
from a remarkable generation.
Moments after learning of her grandfather’s death, his granddaughter Laura
played Taps from her laptop.
accordance with Morley’s wishes, there are no formal services. For those
who wish to do so, memorial contributions in his name may be made to: Cape
Ann Animal Aid (https://www.capeannanimalaid.org), The Open Door
(https://www.foodpantry.org), or the Christopher and Dana Reeve Foundation
Arrangements are under the direction of the Whittier-Porter Funeral Home
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