Julia Morris Disston, 96, died peacefully on April 14, 2018 at her home at The Hill at Whitemarsh. She is survived by her sons, William Leeds Disston, Jr. (Kate) of Berkeley, CA; Morris Disston (Susan) of Wyndmoor, PA; and Matthew Pratt Disston (Claudia) of Seattle, WA, as well as eight grandchildren and thirteen great-grandchildren. She was pre-deceased by her husband of 58 years, William Leeds Disston.
Born Julia Pemberton Morris, on January 15, 1922, to Effingham Buckley Morris Jr. and Julia P. Lewis, Mrs. Disston was the last person to be born in the historic Morris House on 8th Street in Philadelphia. She attended the L’ecole Francaise on Rittenhouse Square, prior to her family’s move in 1929 to Silver Springs Farm in Blue Bell where she discovered her love of riding. Julie spent summers with her cousin, Nancy Grant, on Mt. Desert Island, ME where she began her lifelong love of sailing and was a graduate of the Westover School in Middlebury, CT.
Julie met and married Bill Disston in 1942 and they moved to an air force base in Columbia, SC where their first son was born while Bill was flying bombing missions over Italy. Following the war, Bill and Julie moved back to Philadelphia so he could rejoin the Henry Disston & Sons saw company. They bought a farmhouse on Militia Hill Road in Plymouth Meeting, where they raised cattle and sheep.
In 1958 they relocated to Palos Verdes Estates, California with The Budd Company. Julie enjoyed tennis, and also spent weekends sailing and skiing. She was happiest in the sunshine with the wind at her back.
Julie and Bill moved to The Moorings in Vero Beach, FL in the mid-seventies and spent the next two decades in Florida, Philadelphia and Damariscotta, ME. She was an avid gardener, and dedicated years to the Highlands Historical Society and its hands-on garden maintenance. As a mother and grandmother, GG was never short on excitement, slapping her knee and declaring “Oh how WONDERFUL!”
Well into her eighties, and with failing eyesight, she could be found single-handing her daysailer on Muscongus Bay in Maine. She quelled fears by assuring her family that with each outing she carried a life-vest and non-waterproof phone. She was a former member of The Whitemarsh Valley Hunt Club, The Los Angeles Yacht Club, The Corinthian Yacht Club and Sunnybrook Golf Club.
Julie embodied “salt of the earth”, and her stories, ready smile and endless enthusiasm will be missed by all. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to the St. Thomas’ Church Playground Fund. A service to celebrate her life will be held at 11:00 am on June 16th at St. Thomas’ Church, Whitemarsh.