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Sister Who Gave Aviatrix Earhart A Lift Dies At 98

Thu., March 5, 1998

When aviation pioneer Amelia Earhart bought her first airplane in 1922, she used all her savings. She used all her sister’s savings, too.

Muriel (Earhart) Morrisey, the woman who enabled Amelia Earhart’s career to take off, died Monday in her home in Medford, Mass. She was 98.

Amelia Earhart was the first woman to fly over the Atlantic Ocean and the first person to solo over both the Atlantic and Pacific oceans. Her Lockheed Electra disappeared in the South Pacific in 1937 while she was attempting to circumnavigate the globe. She was 40 when she disappeared.

Morrisey taught English in Medford public schools for many years.

“Amelia and I were very different,” Morrisey said in a 1983 Globe story. “She was independent and always moving, and I was domestic and married. I had two children, and Amelia had two airplanes.”

She said she was never envious. “I can’t explain why we turned out so differently, but that’s the way it happens in families. She was the leader, the one with ideas, and I was always the tag-along.”

She said when her sister disappeared, it did not come as a surprise. “When you live dangerously, you sometimes have to die dangerously, too.”

Morrisey was born in Kansas City, Kan. She moved to Medford with her mother and sister after her mother was divorced in 1924. She wrote “Courage Is The Price,” a biography of her sister in which she detailed their youth and expounded her own theories as to how her sister died.

On June 1, 1983, the anniversary of her sister’s final takeoff, Morrisey donated four cartons of pictures and letters concerning her sister to Radcliffe College’s Schlesinger Library. The letters were discovered in 1975 in the basement of a California house once occupied by their mother.


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