Mrs. Julia Fields Morton, 85, was called home to be with The Lord this past Thursday, June 29, 2023. Her death was unexpected, and she was blessed to live each day to it’s fullest right up to her time to go to her heavenly home. Julia did not fear nor dread death as she had this blessed hope found in Corinthians 5:8 “…to be absent from the body is to be present with the Lord.”
In addition to her parents, Julia is preceded in death by her husband of over 50 years, Lee Morton, Sr.; brother, Earl Fields; and sister, Edna Kutcherosky.
Julia is survived by her sons, John Dudley Wilkerson (Sheila) of Durham, NC; Oris Lee Morton, Jr. (Heather) of Franklinton; daughter, Tammy Morton Barnette (Currie) of Durham, N.C.; brothers, Bennie Fields (Nancy) and Bill Fields (Patrice); grandchildren, Jonathan Wilkerson, Amber Keenan (Dan), Tyler Wilkerson, Micah Morton, Caleb Morton; great-grandchild, Alexis Wilkerson. Also, several nieces, nephews, and many loving friends.
Mrs. Morton was born here in Durham, NC on April 29, 1938, to the late John Andrew Fields and Gladys Gooch Fields in Durham, NC. While she loved to travel, she kept her roots firmly planted where her family was – here in Durham.
“Mama” was a pillar of strength and love to our family and friends. She attended and was a member of West Durham Pentecostal Holiness Church for nearly 40 years. She made sure her family was in church Sunday morning, Sunday night, and most times on Wednesday night. Additionally, she was a member of the “Ladies Auxiliary” of the church and served as an officer for several years. She would throw herself wholeheartedly into whatever project the Auxiliary had chosen, and it was always fun to be a part of this.
She was a “prayer warrior” and on the “prayer chain” at her church. We witnessed many times her prayers were answered. Many have acknowledged through the years that she knew how to “reach heaven” with her prayers. Whenever her children had a problem – she was the first phone call we made to enlist her prayers.
She was a devoted wife to the love of her life, Oris Lee Morton Sr., even working beside him keeping the books and doing all the paperwork for “Lee’s Auto Sale” part time while the children were young, then full time for 30+ years. She was a loving mother to her 3 children; leading each of us to follow the example she and Daddy gave to follow Jesus.
When her first born, Johnny was young, she was a “Den Mother” of his Boy Scouts troop. She also facilitated him playing softball and he was on the track team at school winning several trophies. Johnny also took music lessons, learning to play the guitar and bass guitar!
Later when Tammy and Lee were school age, Mama and Daddy decided to enroll us in Fellowship Christian School. She or Daddy dropped us off at School every morning, and every afternoon we would find her waiting there in there in the parking lot to pick us up after school. Additionally, she drove us to music lessons – piano, accordion and guitar, even a few banjo lessons!
When Lee was old enough to sing, Mom discovered he had a great singing voice. Not long after this discovery, “The Morton Family Singers” was born! This was perfect! As Daddy always said, “Julia would rather sing than eat when she’s hungry!” Lee sang lead and played the bass guitar, Tammy played the piano and sang harmony, and mom filled in the rest! She had a wonderful alto voice! Not known by many, she also had an incredible vocal range! The “Morton Family Singers” traveled mostly in NC, singing and proclaiming the Gospel! For several years we attended the “Blackwood Brothers Music Camp” in Murray Kentucky for 2 weeks during the summer. That was always fun and educational!
As the kids were getting older, Daddy was invited to become a representative of The Gideons International. Mom was totally in agreement with this and became active in The Gideons herself. As Secretary of her Gideon Auxiliary, she passed out New Testaments to CNAs at the area’s Rehab and Nursing homes, as well as speaking at many graduation ceremonies!
Mama loved to tell people about Jesus! Besides being an active member of West Durham PH Church, she was also the teacher of “The Crusaders” Sunday School class there. Ms. Julia felt called to minister to those in jail. She joined a witnessing/prayer team that went to the Durham County Jail every Saturday morning. She loved praying with the ladies.
Later in life, Mama learned how to play the mandolin! She would practice until late in the night – until Daddy called, “Julia – come to bed!” She got pretty good at it! Who could have known this talent would facilitate her having a social life after Daddy had passed and the children were off and married. She played music at the Ruritan Club every month, for a while. But it was when she discovered The Ridgeway Opry House, that “spark” returned to her. She attended Ridgeway every Saturday night and she made many, many dear friends there.
Julia and a group of 5 or 6 of her lifelong friends decided to form a little social group. They would alternate who would host lunch once a month and talk and laugh. They called this group “The Magnolias”. I believe Mama was the last Magnolia.
Julia Morton had a passion for life not seen so much this day and time. She lived every day to its fullest. She loved to laugh, she loved her family and friends and always seemed to be happy.
She will be remembered as a loving wife, a wonderful mother, sister and grandmother.
A visitation will be held on Sunday, July 2, 2023, from 6:00 – 8:00 p.m. at Hudson Funeral Home. Funeral services will be held at 11:00 a.m. on Monday, July 3, 2023, at Hudson Funeral Home Chapel. Officiating will be Reverend Greg Long and Brian Eggleston. Interment will be held at Oak Grove Memorial Gardens.
Flowers are acceptable or donations can be made to The Gideons International.