Dr. George Malcolm Morley, MD FACOG, beloved husband, father and grandfather, passed away peacefully at the age of 89 on October 13, 2022. Lonette (Lonnie) Marie (Steffy) Morley, his beloved wife for 58 years, died in January 2022.
He is survived by his four children, Kirsten Ryan (Michael) of Avon, CT, Dr. Robert Morley, of Marquette, Alison Young (Todd), of Northport and Gretchen Morley Ross of Fife Lake; and her three grandchildren, James Ryan, Jack Ryan and Evie Ross. He is also survived by his brothers, Dr. John Wilson Morley, 94, of Richmond, VA and Dr. Thomas Selwyn Morley, 85, of Isle of Mann, UK; and his cousin, Anita Dunne, of Ortonville.
Malcolm was born in County Durham, England in 1933 to John Joseph Morley and Minnie (Hodgeson) Morley. He led an adventurous childhood during the war in the north of England, where he began to devote his whole life to beekeeping. A student at the University of Edinburgh Medical School, Malcolm graduated at the top of his class in 1952. His classmate, Jerry Slavin, said: “Malcom was the guy that each of us tried to beat, but we could never match his spirit.” Despite being asked to be part of Her Majesty’s Royal Medical Team, Malcolm decided to come to America because a fellow college student had taken up a position at Oakwood Hospital in Dearborn and suggested Malcolm to to apply.
Malcolm completed his residency at Oakwood and later joined the practice of Dr. Thomas Carbonell. After Tom retired in the mid-1970s, Malcolm partnered with Dr. Jure Grahovac and the two built one of the largest OBGYN practices in Wayne County. He was chief of staff at Oakwood for many years, in the late 1980s the AMA mandated the practice of immediate clamping of the fetal umbilical cords after delivery, a directive that would forever change Oakwood’s life. Malcolm. He spoke out against the practice, arguing that immediate cord clamping (ICC) was detrimental to newborns. Over the next 20 years, he became a recognized authority on the subject worldwide through his research, findings and arguments against the ICC published in a multitude of articles, medical journals and magazines. In 2008 Malcolm was honored by the Michigan State Medical Society for 50 years of service to the medical community.
Malcolm had many interests and talents outside of medicine. A lover of literature, he wrote and published The Giant of Red Mill Run (a fictional story about the life of Henry Ford) and was a leader of the Great Books Program (teaching children critical thinking). A passionate beekeeper since childhood, Malcolm remained passionate about beekeeping until the very end and often spoke of his friend Julius Kolarik, who helped Malcolm with his hives, even when he was no longer able to take care of it himself. Malcolm also loved to dance, and that was what precipitated his introduction to the love of his life, Lonnie.
A year after they first met at a “sock-hop”, Malcolm and Lonnie were married at Martha Mary Chapel in Greenfield Village (1963). They bought their first home from the Ford Foundation in the late 1960s. When their fourth child arrived, they decided to move the family to Birmingham, where they lived for 23 years. In 1997 Malcolm and Lonnie moved to a farmhouse in Northport and it reminded him of his home in England. He and Lonnie embraced the community, joining the Northport Supper Club, attending Northport Covenant Church, participating in Northport Airport Pancake Fly-ins, and performing in the Northport Community Arts Center’s production of “Sound of Music.” Malcolm was also known to drive his favorite dog, Jessie, to the cafe every morning to join the men in a conversation about “business” in town.
In 2014, Malcom had a cardiac arrest. Northport EMS responded, giving him 5 shocks to restart his heart. He was rushed to Munson Hospital, where Lonnie pleaded with the doctors to “do everything possible. I was supposed to go first!” Munson’s team engaged in a new procedure that put Malcolm in a coma for a week to save him from brain damage. The procedure worked and thanks to vigorous physical therapy and an unwavering determination to come home and take care of Lonnie, Malcolm made a full recovery. During the last years of their lives, Malcolm helped Lonnie. She used to tell her friends that he came back better than before. He and Lonnie were so grateful to have received such a priceless gift from these men and women that every year on May 22 they spent the day giving gifts of their unwavering gratitude to each of the first responders who had played a such a pivotal role in saving Malcolm’s life.
In the end, Malcolm let Lonnie “come first” and for the past few months she’s patiently waited for him so they can dance together in heaven again.
A gathering time begins at 2 p.m. at Reynolds Jonkhoff Funeral Home on October 29, 2022. Malcolm will be escorted in procession to his final resting place in Leelanau Township Cemetery departing from the funeral home beginning at 3 p.m.
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