Joan Morton

Joan Morton

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Obituary of Joan Morton

Joan "Laila" Porter Morton Joan "Laila" Porter Morton, age 92, died peacefully at her Millcreek Twp. home with her family at her side on Wednesday, May 23, 2007. She was born on December 31, 1914, in Pittsburgh, the daughter of the late Morgan and Gaynelle Porter. She grew up in Erie, where her father owned a drug store at 4th and State Streets, and her mother was a well-known pianist. She particularly enjoyed summers at her family's cottage at Ferncliff on the bay. As early as age 5, Joan's zeal for performing became evident, and she began voice and dance lessons. At age 15, she moved to New York City with her mother and sister, Ruth, where her talent blossomed. Her theatrical career took her to Broadway where, under the stage name of Joan English, she became one of the first Rockettes and performed at the Roxy Theater. She danced in George White Scandals' revues, entertaining with such celebrities as Alice Faye and Rudy Vallee. She appeared in many Broadway shows and was also under contract to Warner Brothers, appearing in several short-subject films. On April 16, 1942, she married William C. Morton and eventually moved back to Erie to make her home. A one-time president of the former Erie Civic Ballet Guild and the Millcreek Republican Women, Joan was also active in parent-teacher organizations at her children's Millcreek schools. Besides her husband, she was also preceded in death by a brother, Morgan Porter, and a sister, Ruth English; also a dear step-father, Ellis Frampton. Survivors include a son, William T. Morton Esq., and his wife, Debbie, and a daughter, Susan Lechner, and her husband, Robert, both of Erie; and six grandchildren, Lili Morton of New York City, Dan Morton of Pittsburgh, Keith Morton of Erie, Katharine Murosky and her husband, Nick, of New York City, Robert Lechner of Toronto, and Scott Lechner of Erie; and several nieces and nephews. Friends may call at the Dusckas-Martin Funeral Home, Inc., 4216 Sterrettania Rd., on Sunday from 2 to 5 and 7 to 9 p.m. and are invited there on Tuesday for a funeral service conducted by the Monsignor Tom McSweeney at 10:00 A.M. Interment Laurel Hill Cemetery. Memorial contributions may be made to the VNA Hospice Services of Erie County, 1305 Peach St., Erie, PA 16501 or to the Erie Playhouse, 13 W. 10th St., Erie, PA 16501.
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