Marilyn Morse Cullen, 84, Spent Summers on Island

Marilyn Morse Cullen of Belleair, Fla. and Martha's Vineyard died May 15 at the age of 84. She was the daughter of the late Melvin Lowrey Morse and Mildred Bent Morse of Wellesley Hills. Marilyn is survived by her sisters, Marcia Morse Airis and Judith Morse Collins of Edgartown; her sons, Robert Morse Cullen of Belleair, and Edward Lowrey Cullen of Powder Springs, Ga.; her daughter, Cynthia Grace Jones of Belleair, Fla., and her four grandchildren, Melissa, Megan, and Alex Cullen and Ryan Jones of Powder Springs.

Marilyn was born on Oct. 17, 1920 in Natick near her family home in Wellesley Hills. In 1925 her father bought a cottage on Martha's Vineyard from Alice Slocum Frost, a sister of Joshua Slocum. The Morse family spent their summers on the Vineyard all the years that she was growing up. Other relatives have established homes on the Vineyard over the years. Marilyn and her family continued to return to her beloved Vineyard each year for the rest of her life.

Upon graduation from high school, Marilyn earned a scholarship to Wellesley College and was graduated in June of 1942 with majors in music and English. During her school years she was the pianist in the Morse family orchestra along with cellist Marcia, flautist Melvin and violinists Mildred, Judith and cousin Peggy.

At the age of 22 Marilyn married Cyrus Preston Cullen from Tampa, Fla. The marriage took place in the Wellesley College chapel. During World War II, Lieut. Col. Cullen served with Army Air Corps in Europe as a pilot and continued his career until retirement in 1966. During those years they were stationed in Washington, D.C., Panama City, Fla., Frankfurt, Germany, Chateauroux, France and Dobbins Air Force Base in Marietta, Ga. where they bought their first home. In addition to the full time job caring for her home and family, Marilyn was active in church and community activities, taught piano and was church organist in Methodist churches in most of those locations. On the Vineyard she was available for entertainment at the senior center in Edgartown for their sing-a-longs.

Marilyn and Preston moved to Belleair and continued their love of travel by taking an exciting two month voyage down the Atlantic coast from the Vineyard to Clearwater, Fla. aboard their 28-foot cruiser Maverick. Later they traveled across the United States in their motor home on a dream adventure to California and the West Coast.

After the death of her mother in 1991 and her husband in 1994, she spent the remaining years summering with the family on the Vineyard and traveling with her sister, Marcia, to Alaska, Europe, Greece and Turkey. She devoted the last few years lovingly helping to care for her grandchildren.

Her special love for the Vineyard is best illustrated by her response to the suggestion she should think of her happiest time. She replied, "I'm sitting in a rocking chair on the front porch of our cottage on the Vineyard reading the newspaper!" The beauty of the Island also stimulated her hobby of photography. She spent many happy hours looking for the appealing scenes and the best lighting conditions. She exhibited an enlargement of a photograph she took of the Gay Head Cliffs at the county fair and copies of it occupy a special place in her sisters' homes.

Marilyn was a devoted and much beloved wife, mother, grandmother, daughter, sister and friend. Her entire life was spent generously caring for others with no regard for her own comfort. She has enriched the lives of all with whom she came in contact by her warmth and kindness. Her favorite song, All Things Bright and Beautiful sums up her outlook on life. She is greatly missed by all her family and everyone who knew her.

A memorial service will be held on Aug. 5 at 11 a.m. at the Federated Church on South Summer street in Edgartown. She will be interred at the new Westside Edgartown Cemetery. Memorial contributions may be sent to the Pet Adoption and Welfare Service of Martha's Vineyard at PAWS, Inc., P.O. Box 1636, Edgartown, MA 02539.