Yvonne L. Morrell, a single mother of six, studied hard and worked her way up from teacher's aide to elementary school teacher and part-time administrator at Buffalo's Waterfront Elementary School before retiring in 2004. She earned a bachelor's degree and two master's degrees in the process.
Ms. Morrell died Thursday in her Buffalo home. She was 70.
Born in Buffalo, Ms. Morrell was a graduate of East High School, Buffalo State College and the University at Buffalo. She earned her bachelor's and master's degrees in elementary education and a second master's in child psychology.
According to her son, James, Ms. Morrell had long been active in education, starting out as a teacher's aide in St. Ann's School, which her children attended. She was elected to be a parent representative at the school during the early 1970s.
In 1968, Ms. Morrell was part of a team that helped to establish the Follow-Through School on Masten Avenue.
After becoming certified as an elementary school teacher, Ms. Morrell worked for 35 years in Buffalo Public Schools, teaching first through fifth grades. As she neared retirement, Ms. Morrell occasionally stepped out of the classroom, serving as a substitute administrator in Waterfront School.
"Even after she retired, she would go in and serve as assistant principal when they needed her," James Morrell said.
For many years, Ms. Morrell taught in the GED program at Attica Correctional facility over the summer.
In addition to her son, survivors include five daughters: Stephanie George, Jacqueline Brice, Angela Wilcox, Carolyn and Shereen.
A Mass of Christian Burial will be offered at noon Tuesday in St. Ann's Catholic Church on Broadway and Emslie Street.