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Remembering Mayor Lorraine H. Morton

Post Date:09/11/2018 12:21 PM

Morton_homepageThe City of Evanston joins the community in mourning the loss of beloved former Mayor Lorraine H. Morton, who died on Saturday, September 8 at the age of 99. Mayor Morton was Evanston’s first African-American mayor and the City’s longest-serving mayor, serving for 16 years from 1993 to 2009.

Memorial Services

Open Visitation
Open visitation will be held on Friday, September 21, 3 p.m. to 8 p.m., at First Church of God Christian Life Center, 1524 Simpson St.

Funeral Service
The funeral service will take place on Saturday, September 22, 11 a.m., at Alice Millar Chapel, 1870 Sheridan Rd.

Funeral Service Parking and Traffic Information
Hinman Avenue from Clark Street to Sheridan Road will be closed for procession parking. Attendees who plan to participate in the procession should enter Hinman from Clark Street (heading northbound).

The City's Church Streeet Self Park garage is located at Clark Street just east of Chicago Avenue. Northwestern University's parking garage adjacent to the Segal Visitors Center is located at 1841 Sheridan Road. (View NU parking map.)

Handicapped drop-off will be available via Clark Street entering the alley east of Chicago Avenue and traveling north, with drop-off at the chapel. Handicapped and identified dignitary parking will be available on Sheridan Road. 

Traffic on southbound Sheridan Road will be rerouted onto Chicago Avenue.


Interment following the funeral service will take place at Sunset Memorial Lawns, 3100 Shermer Rd., in Northbrook.

Tributes and Condolences


Community members may visit to leave their tributes and condolences.

In addition, the City has created an area to honor Mayor Morton's memory. It has been relocated to the Fleetwood-Jourdain Art Gallery in the Morton Civic Center (2nd floor), 2100 Ridge Ave. Community members are invited to visit and sign a book of remembrance during regular business hours, 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m., through Friday, September 21. 


Lorraine H. Morton dedicated her life to serving the Evanston community, first as an educator and later in public office.

Morton earned a master's degree in education from Northwestern University in 1942. After teaching in Tuskegee, Alabama, she and her husband, Dr. James T. Morton Jr., returned to Evanston in 1953, where she became a teacher at District 65's Foster Elementary School.

In 1957, Morton made history as the first African-American educator in Evanston to break the color barrier, moving from the segregated Foster School to teach at Nichols Middle School. She later taught at Chute Middle School, and in 1977 became the principal of Haven Middle School, where she stayed until her retirement from District 65 in 1989.

Morton was appointed Evanston 5th Ward Alderman by Mayor Jay C. Lytle in 1982, and represented the City's 5th Ward until 1991. In 1993, she again made Evanston history when she was elected as the City's first African-American mayor. Morton was reelected three times and remained in office until 2009, becoming the City's longest-serving mayor.

After leaving office, Mayor Morton remained an active participant in the Evanston community. The Lorraine H. Morton Civic Center was named in her honor in 2009 shortly after her retirement.

Read Northwestern University's article commemorating the life Mayor Morton

Statement from Mayor Stephen Hagerty

"Our City has lost a remarkable woman. Lorraine H. Morton was not only Evanston’s first African-American mayor and our longest-serving mayor, but a teacher, mentor and friend to so many people. Her life was a life worthwhile and our community is so fortunate to have had her nearly 100 years of wisdom, inspiration and optimism shared with us so genuinely and generously."

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