Mabel Morris was born near Chincoteague, Virginia in 1921. Her mother, Flossie, was barely 14 years old. Mabel was a bright child, and her family saw her potential early. Mabel's mother nurtured her daughter's talent and compassion, encouraging her to pursue the nursing field. Mabel graduated Girls High School, then received her nursing diploma from Mercy Hospital, and finally earned advanced degrees from the University of Pennsylvania and Columbia University.
Mabel believed that every family deserved enough support and resources to succeed. She didn't just see patients, she saw the potential in families to grow, develop, and overcome hardships with the support of a public health nurse. Mabel was known for her sunny disposition and bright smile that lifted the spirits of her patients and colleagues. She valued education, and advised people that, “knowledge is power and information is how to get it.”
In June 2009, Mabel Morris died peacefully at 88 years of age, surrounded by her family and loved ones.
Today, Mabel is known as the first public health nurse leader in Philadelphia. Her energy, passion, and dedication to healthy children with bright futures ahead of them inspires the next generation of public health nurses in Philadelphia at the Mabel Morris Family Home Visit Program. Mabel's work still guides the city's public health nurses.