Elizabeth Patricia Clarke Morin, 91, of Shrewsbury, lived a very good life and passed away peacefully with her family by her side at Meridian Nursing and Rehabilitation in Shrewsbury on Valentine’s Day, February 14 after suffering a series of strokes beginning in June. After each stroke, Betty was able to recover and resume an active social life with her new friends at Meridian. Two days before her passing she held court in the hallway and said, “who would’ve thought that this late in my life I would make so many new and dear friends that I love. Aren’t we lucky to all be able to live together in such a beautiful place.”
Betty was born in Elmont, New York, on December 4, 1926, the youngest and 13th child of Patrick “Harry” H. Clarke and Catherine “Katie” P. Waters Clarke. At 16 years old, after all but two of her siblings had enlisted to serve in World War II, she accompanied a girlfriend downtown to an interview at AT&T who was in dire need of telephone operators to handle overseas calls. She was offered a job in San Francisco, California, to handle calls coming from the Pacific.
She explained that she hadn’t graduated high school yet and the AT&T executive insisted he would take care of that. He marched her into her Catholic High School and told the principal that her country needed her and the test he had given her downtown should qualify for graduation. Permission was granted on the spot and Betty went home to tell her parents she was leaving too.
She spent the rest of the war happily in San Francisco where she had the time of her life but still sent her paychecks home like her brothers and sisters because, after all, her “Poppa said he didn’t rent their rooms out did I.”
When she returned to New York City she was the last to arrive home even though the others came from overseas. She had cashed her train ticket in for a bus so that she could save money and see the country with her girlfriends.
She stayed with AT&T and enjoyed life as a single working girl with a paycheck enjoying all the nightclubs and restaurants the city had to offer. A few years later, she met returned serviceman Albert Philippe Morin in Teddy’s; a cocktail lounge owned by a friend. He was a lithographer working in downtown Manhattan as well. They were married and moved to Hollis, Queens.
In 1955, Al took his pregnant wife to the Lincoln Tunnel and said to her, “I can go 50 miles from here but no further. Do you want to go to Long Island with your family and friends or down the newly open Garden State Parkway for a ride?” Together they took that ride that changed the course of history for them and generations to follow.
In a time when leaving the neighborhood was a big deal, leaving the family and friends behind to start a new life was a very bold move. Exit 109-Lincroft/Red Bank was exactly 50 miles; thereby forever answering the question their children would always be asked of, which exit they are from. Signs directed them to a brand new neighborhood being built. They walked into the model home which was billed as the GE Home of the Future; complete with a shiny pink appliance package and an intercom system. With $50 down the deal was sealed with a handshake and the builder bought them dinner at The Lincroft Inn.
Betty and Al brought both of her parents with them and raised their sons, Thomas, John (both from Al’s previous marriage), Paul and finally daughter Barbara Ann in their home in Lincroft.
Betty and her husband Al both became community builders immediately upon moving in. They were founding members of St. Leo the Great Church and Grammar School where she became head of The Rosary Altar Society and was a co-founder of the St. Leo’s Carnival Committee.
Early supporters of both The Lincroft Fire Co. and The Lincroft First Aid; Betty was First Aid Ladies Auxiliary president twice. At the same time, she also was Ladies Auxiliary president for the Red Bank Elks Lodge BPOE 233 twice and finished a third term for another. She headed or co-chaired many events over the years including charity balls and variety shows that became legendary. Her favorite was the Crippled Children’s Christmas Party and Breakfast with Santa.
Time was also spent supporting the Lincroft Little League and Red Bank Catholic. Betty became active in The Monmouth County Democratic Club and was a Middletown Township Democratic Committee Person for many years.
She returned to work part-time at Fort Monmouth, then eventually full-time at Electronic Associates Incorporated, West Long Branch, before being recruited for a new computer company Interdata, right across the street in Oceanport. It was an exciting time. Betty enjoyed her position and colleagues so much she stayed in that location when it was purchased by Perkin-Elmer, then Concurrent Computer Corporation. This enabled her to make friends all over the world; from Wollongong, Australia, to every tech hub in the burgeoning market.
Betty still receives notes from some of those business people today. She would say they worked hard but no one had more fun than her group. During this time Betty also was the recording secretary for the Middletown Township Recreation Department, the Middletown Township Sewer Authority and the Middletown Township Planning Board. She took night classes at Brookdale Community College to keep up with advances in the computer technology field.
She retired after a buyout was offered by Concurrent and realized she wasn’t quite ready so she worked first for The Musical Heritage Society, Eatontown, and then answered an old friend’s call for help at Discovery House, Marlboro, before retiring again.
In her leisure time, Betty was a longtime member of first: Trade Winds Beach Club, then Driftwood Beach Club, with her Elks friends for many years before being a cabana member at Surfrider Beach Club. Sea Watch Beach in Manasquan and Seapointe in Diamond Beach were her favorites as well.
Becoming a grandmother was one of the greatest joys of her life. She became the oldest volunteer member of the Lincroft PFA for five years, where she worked in the library and as a Popsicle Mom for Field Day. She forced herself to love wrestling, even traveling to Michigan to watch a match her grandson was in, ice hockey, soccer, football, baseball, basketball, track and even big wave surfing. Every grandchild could count on her for complete support in any endeavor.
Betty was a Friend of the Red Bank Library, a past member of the Riverview Hospital Auxiliary, the Middletown Senior Citizens Club, and a supporter of Lunch Break, Holiday Express and Covenant House. Betty brought networking to a whole new level. If she could be of help she was. She was a lifetime supporter of The National Geographic Society, The Smithsonian and Consumer Reports.
Elizabeth “Betty” Patricia Clarke Morin was predeceased by her husband, Albert Morin in 1989. She is survived by her children, Paul Patrick Morin and his wife Jane Flaherty Morin, of Point Pleasant Beach and Barbara Ann Morin Voetsch and her husband Keith Voetsch Sr.; five grandchildren, Matthew Paul Morin, Sean Francis Morin, Keith Robert Voetsch Jr., Bryan Patrick Voetsch and Kelsey Jane Morin; two beautiful great-grandchildren, Emelia Jacqueline Morin and Tyler Mason Morin; and her dearest nieces and nephews. Her lifetime of beloved friendships of people of all ages brought her comfort and joy until she closed her eyes including her newest and dearest friend, Frances Stein and family. The family would especially like to thank the staff of Crest Physical Therapy and The Atlantic Club, Red Bank, for their friendship and many years of care and the staff and residents of Meridian Nursing and Rehabilitation, Shrewsbury, who made each day a pleasure.
Thompson Memorial Home, Red Bank, was in charge of arrangements.
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