Jeff Morelock, a Habitat for Humanity of Cleveland volunteer and past Board president, passed away on Saturday.
"A little over a year ago, while Jeff was our Board president, he called and asked me to meet with him," said Tammy Johnson, executive director of Habitat for Humanity of Cleveland. "What he told me next will stay with me for the rest of my life. He shared he had been diagnosed with ALS but that he wanted to continue in his role as long as possible. Then he told me he wanted to face this with, 'bravery and dignity,' and that’s exactly what he did."
Last June Ms. Johnson was able to visit him to deliver pictures from his time with Habitat and took cards from the staff and board members. The next day he texted, “Thanx so much for your visit today & the gifts & cards. Kathy is reading them to me. Give my regards to all! Keep doing at Habitat what u r doing & then do more!”
Mr. Morelock loved Habitat but more importantly, he loved people. He stayed involved, and he continued to change many lives. Even on Jan. 15 of this year he sent an email regarding the board of director’s meeting. Last November he emailed Ms. Johnson, asking her to, “Encourage all to donate for 20/21 fund drive to strive for 100 percent.”
"Jeff never asked for public praise, nor did he want it," said Ms. Johnson. "He simply went about doing good. He cared deeply about our community, and he cared about Habitat’s success. He was a strong leader, and as our Board president he often encouraged me by calling, texting, emailing and taking me to lunch. He stood with me during good times and supported me fully when we faced challenges. He never wavered. He was a mentor and my boss, but he was so much more than that – he was loyal, and he was my friend.
"Jeff will be missed deeply by our Habitat family. He led by showing us the way. He served for nine years on our board of directors and four of those as president. He cared deeply, and we will miss Jeff. We will think of him every time we swing a hammer, attend a board meeting or work in the community to raise funding for this important work. It’s what he wanted for Habitat, and we plan to honor him knowing that our work is not over. He will continue to inspire us to help more families and to always move forward with 'bravery and dignity'. Thank you, fine sir, for the way you have touched us. You have made a difference, and we will always remember you."