Marie Quinlan Morrissette, treasurer of the Edgewater Historical Society for 14 years, died suddenly on October 10, 2007. To say we will miss Marie is an understatement. Marie has worked tirelessly keeping track of our books through all those years during our building restoration project and beyond. She encouraged us and coached us in many activities through these years.
Those on the finance committee will remember the lovely dinners at her home prior to the meetings. What a way to encourage meeting attendance. She also managed the front desk for all of our Home Tours, smiling as each attendee signed in and handed in their admission fee. Marie, more than anyone, was aware that this fundraising event made it possible to keep our museum open. At our board meetings, Marie was always ready with the finance report that kept us looking forward for ways to expand our service in Edgewater. In recent years, she enlisted her daughter, Marie Hopkins, and her grandson, Chris, in double checking her entries and keeping everything up to date.
In all these activities, Marie’s face glowed with her lovely smile. Looking through the photos of the many activities prior to the opening of the museum, we can see Marie in the center of everything. In 2002, the Edgewater Community Council gave Marie their Volunteer of the Year award for her service. She was touched and surprised. Perhaps she thought that no one had noticed her hard work and continuing service.
She was born in Chicago in 1919 to John Perry Quinlan and Marie Quinlan. John Perry Quinlan was one of three sons of William Perry Quinlan, who worked for John Lewis Cochran in sales in the brand new Edgewater suburb of 1886. William started the Edgewater Coal Company which was located on Broadway just north of Bryn Mawr along the train tracks. William Quinlan turned over this business to Marie’s father and his two brothers, William and Frank. John Perry Quinlan raised his family in Edgewater. There were four children: Marie, Virginia, Ann and John. The family lived on the 5500 block of Wayne and attended St. Ita Church and school. Marie attended Immaculata High School and then went on to a career in business.
Marie started working at the phone company. Next, she worked for a lawyer named Nash and then for a lawyer, Dick Fredo, who later was appointed Public Administrator. Marie worked for 35 years as his office manager. During this time, Marie married a soldier boy, Frank Morrissette, and had a daughter, Marie (Hopkins).
Her grandfather on her mother’s side, Adolph Loeffler, owned a concrete business with a man named Hock. The business was called Wisconsin Lime and Cement and later Consumers Co. Mr. Loeffler built a building called the Lincoln Park Arms on Pine Grove and lived there on the top floor. In later years, Marie moved there to help them operate the building. This expanded to hosting holiday parties and building get-togethers for the tenants. After many years living on Pine Grove, her mother died and Marie sold the building and return to Edgewater.
She moved into the Edgewater Beach Apartments and got reacquainted with Charlie Stetson, whom she had known from their years on Wayne Avenue. Charlie invited her to join the Edgewater Historical Society Board of Directors and she volunteered to be Treasurer. She did not know that she was joining a group of dedicated people who had their eye on creating a neighborhood history museum.
More work followed and Marie was there to see the purchase of the property at 5358 N. Ashland and to sign all the grant papers and keep track of the funds raised by our community donors. This was no small task because of the number of people who gave small amounts over four years. Through all of this, Marie kept her smile and her sense of humor. When the bureaucracy sought yet another form, Marie taught us to laugh. It would end soon and we would have a museum and all these silly things would be forgotten. To say that Marie is missed is just a part of the story. We will miss her at our meetings with her humor and encouragement. No one can replace her, no one will try.