From 1972 to 2000, Mrs. Morris was president of the trust, which now includes 9,000 acres of agricultural, natural, and park lands and has more than 60 sites and districts on the National Register of Historic Places.
"Eleanor Morris battled with townships over prospective developments long before saving land was popular, and she forged alliances with governmental entities," said Brenda Barrett, former director of the Pennsylvania Bureau of Recreation and Conservation.
Mrs. Morris became active with the Chester County Democratic Party in the 1940s and was a committee person for 60 years. When her husband ran as a Democrat for the Pennsylvania state House, she managed his campaigns, a daughter, Laura Siena, said. He went on to serve 18 years.
"My parents would sit at the kitchen table for hours talking political strategy. She was very aggressive on his behalf," Siena said.
"Farming, land preservation, and politics were completely intertwined for Eleanor and Sam Morris," said State Sen. Andrew E. Dinniman (D., Chester). "Eleanor was enmeshed in Sam's legislative work. They were a great team, and because of their vision and efforts, thousands of acres will remain as open space."
Mrs. Morris grew up in West Virginia and Haverford and graduated from the Shipley School. She earned a bachelor's degree from Bryn Mawr College in 1941 and earned a master's degree in history from Bryn Mawr in 1970.
She married in 1941. Five years later, the couple moved to an 18th-century farm, where they raised their children along with a dairy herd, sheep, pigs, chickens, and vegetables.
She was a founder of the Great Valley Nature Center, The Mill at Anselma Preservation and Education Trust and the Friendly Fellowship, a Chester County program for the elderly. She served on the board of Preservation Action, a national advocacy group, and was on the Valley Forge Park Commission when the park was transferred from the state to the National Park Service in 1976.
Among the honors Mrs. Morris received were the Pennsylvania Environmental Council Custin Winsor Award, the Democratic Party of Chester County Lifetime Achievement Award, and a community service award presented by the Coatesville Area NAACP.
Besides her daughter, she is survived by sons Samuel Jr., George, Cooper, and Christopher; daughters Barbara Caspersen, Eleanor Illoway, and Ozzie Abaye; two sisters; 17 grandchildren; and nine great-grandchildren. Her husband died in 1995.
Friends may call from 5 to 8 p.m., Friday, Sept. 16, at Lionville Fire Company, 15 S. Village Ave., Exton. Remembrances will be offered at 7 p.m. A funeral will be at 11 a.m. Saturday, Sept. 17, at St. Peter's Church in the Great Valley, 2475 St. Peter's Rd., Malvern.
Donations may be made to Lundale Farm Inc., c/o The Barn Office, 1153 Ridge Rd., Pottstown. 19465. The nonprofit promotes sustainable agricultural use of farmland under easement.
Contact staff writer Sally A. Downey at 215-854-2913 or firstname.lastname@example.org.