A celebration of the life of Elizabeth Elinor Morton Brasher was held on June 1 at Alice Millar Chapel, 1870 Sheridan Road. Family, friends, colleagues and community leaders gathered to remember a woman who was a deep-rooted and active member of the Evanston community.
Born and raised in Evanston, Elizabeth was the only child of the late James Thomas Morton, Jr. and Lorraine H. Morton. She enjoyed being the baby cousin to a host of first cousins who spent their childhood summers together in Winston-Salem, N.C,. at the family home of her mother, who was the youngest of ten siblings.
After graduating from Evanston Township High School, Elizabeth attended Spelman College in Atlanta and returned to Evanston to complete her undergraduate studies at what is now National-Louis University. She married fellow ETHS graduate Robert Lee Brasher, and they had two daughters, Elizabeth Keziah and Constance Mariah. Although they divorced, Elizabeth and Robert remained great friends until his death in 2000.
Elizabeth’s daughters remembered her as a woman of incredible strength, even in the face of life’s greatest challenges, including her battle with cancer. “Her unwavering strength allowed her to move forward and persevere,” daughter Elizabeth said in her eulogy.
“We reveled in her optimism,” said younger daughter Constance, who shared treasured memories of a recent family vacation in San Diego.
Elizabeth led by example in both her family and professional life. As an employee at Northwestern University for nearly 30 years, she was Assistant Director for the Infrastructure Technology Institute (ITI) for 20 years. At the time of her passing, Elizabeth was Program Administrator for Northwestern’s Office of Equity. It was immensely important to her to be a leader in supporting the university’s mission of fostering an environment in which all members of the community are free from discrimination and harassment.
Friends, family and colleagues were moved by her capacity to provide compassion and guidance, offering a helping hand whenever needed. Highlights of her community service include serving as President of First Night Evanston, President of Mental Health America of the North Shore, and member of the Board of Directors of the YWCA Evanston/North Shore, where she served as chair of the Racial Justice Committee. She was also a proud member of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc. Her proudest moment of service was serving as campaign manager for her mother, the late Lorraine H. Morton during her fourth and final run for Mayor of Evanston in 2005. Mother and daughter expressed pure joy in working together, and the partnership led to Mayor Morton’s winning the election with 73% of the vote, and becoming our longest serving mayor.
Daughter Elizabeth defined family as the cornerstone in her mother’s life. “She dedicated her life to making our life beautiful and whole,” she said.