Lynne Morris

Lynne Darby Morris, of Chapel Hill, North Carolina, formerly of Oak Park, died peacefully surrounded by loved ones on Nov. 26, 2019 after a long struggle with multiple sclerosis. She was the longtime medical librarian at UNC Health Sciences Library; a younger resident of The Cedars, a retirement community in Chapel Hill; and the wife and business partner of Dwight Morris, founder of Carrot-Top Industries in Hillsborough, North Carolina. Born in 1948 in Portsmouth, Virginia to Charles Riggs Darby and Rosemary (Holly) Holler, she grew up in an army family, living in places such as Japan, Turkey, Kansas, Oklahoma, New York, and Northern Virginia. She graduated from Duke University in 1970 and earned her M.A. in Library Science from the University of Maryland. While at Duke, and on a blind date, she met Dwight, her husband of 48 years. Known as “the skinniest couple on campus,” they did their homework together and were married in 1971 in the same church as Lynne’s parents. 

They eventually moved to Oak Park where they gave birth to both of their daughters, of whom Lynne was endlessly proud, Jenni Darby Morris and Liz Darby Morris. In 1987, the family moved to Chapel Hill. Diagnosed with MS when she was 26, Lynne refused to succumb to this disease of the brain and nervous system for 45 years of her life. She demanded her independence and overcame each of her disabilities one by one as they arose in her life. Once a skier and a cyclist, she gradually lost her ability to feel her own body, the ability to walk or stand, or to hold objects without a severe tremor, becoming so profoundly disabled that it eventually affected every aspect of her life. 

Despite this, she was known for her spunky personality, her full-steam-ahead attitude, and her vital presence. She taught others to do the things they wanted to do in life and not to hold back. Lynne and her husband raised money for the Multiple Sclerosis Society, and she has now donated her brain and organs to the MS Society for research. She loved people and working, passing on the latest technical knowledge about medical research, and going to the movies. She was known for her outspoken feminism and for her laughter, social life, and hospitality, including her annual New Year’s Day party. 

She had friends everywhere. She loved dark chocolate M&M’s, See’s Candies, the mountains of New Mexico, interior design, and impressionist paintings. She read thousands of books, regularly attended plays, attended monthly Carolina Science Cafes, ran committees for her community, met with her scrabble and mahjong groups, and inspired many with her determination — reminding us all that it is how we respond to adversity that shows our character. 

In addition to her immediate family, Lynne Darby Morris is survived by her sisters, Joan Darby Norris and Dana Darby Johnson and her kitten, Sonny. 

In lieu of flowers, the family requests that memorial donations be made to either the National Multiple Sclerosis Society or to Planned Parenthood. 

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