Sarah Taylor Morrow, MD, MPH

July 27, 1921 - March 1, 2024
Sarah Taylor Morrow, MD, MPH

Memorial Gifts & Donations

Another amazing member of our “Greatest Generation”, Sarah Taylor Morrow, MD, MPH, passed away peacefully on March 1, 2024 in Wilmington, NC surrounded by family. Sarah Alice Taylor was born July 27,1921 and lived in Stanley, NC.

She was the daughter of pioneering dentist Dr. Lois McKeown Taylor, and surgeon Dr. Frank V. Taylor. By the age of five, Sarah was determined to become a doctor. Just before the great depression of 1929 she moved to Charlotte with her younger brother and mother to the Dilworth neighborhood where her mother practiced dentistry out of her home office. She attended Queens College where she became quite accomplished at piano before transferring to UNC-Chapel Hill where she received a bachelor’s degree in medicine. She completed her medical training at the University of Maryland earning her MD degree at the young age of 23 in 1944. She was then one of the first women to be accepted into the Pediatric residency program at Grady Hospital in Atlanta, Ga.

In 1946 her medical school classmate and US Navy surgeon, Dr. Thomas Lacy Morrow returned from the WWII Pacific theater and asked for her hand in marriage. The couple were married in Charlotte and moved to Baltimore so that Lacy could complete his residency at Bethesda Naval Hospital. Sarah began her family there with three children before the couple then moved to Chester, SC, where they then had three more.  Lacy served as a community surgeon there until he was called back to Navy service during the Korean war while Sarah stayed in Chester to build a new home for her large family and work as the Director of the Chester County Health Department. When Lacy returned from this terrible war, he was too ill to practice again as a surgeon. In 1958, when her husband’s health had not improved, Sarah made a decision to move to Chapel Hill to complete her Pediatric residency while also obtaining her Master’s Degree in Public Health.

In 1960, she moved her family to Greensboro as the Assistant Director of the Guilford County Health Department and later became the department’s Director. In 1976 she was selected by Governor Jim Hunt to serve in his cabinet as Secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services- the largest department of State government overseeing Public Health, Social Services, Mental Health, Medicaid, and other areas. She served in this position until 1985, when she then went to work for EDS, a computer-based company that assisted numerous States with their Medicaid programs. She worked as a Medical Director for EDS in Indiana, California and then back in NC before retiring at age 84. During her entire career, she fought tirelessly to improve the health of children, mothers, and families.

She received many awards and recognitions during her life of service including: Greensboro’s Woman of the Year, UNC-Chapel Hill Distinguished Alumni Award, UNC’s Gillings School of Public Health Award, Glaxo Smith Kline Award, and the North Carolina Order of the Long Leaf Pine.

She will be fondly remembered by friends, colleagues, and family for her wonderful sense of humor, appreciation of music, dancing, sports, and any place where people were having fun. Affectionately called “Granny Doc” by family and others, she continued to practice medicine into her 90’s, often curing her patients with nothing more than her kindness and her lovely smile.

She is survived by her children: Sarah Shelley (Greensboro), Lynne Perrin (Stanley), Tom Morrow (Charlotte), Alice Dean (Jim) (Wilmington), and Dr. John Morrow (Suzanne) (West Jefferson); 13 grandchildren and 7 great-grandchildren. She was preceded in death by her son Paul Morrow (Raleigh).

A Celebration of Sarah’s Life will be held on Saturday, April 27, 2024 at 3:00 pm at the O’Henry Hotel, 624 Green Valley Rd, Greensboro, NC 27408.

In lieu of flowers, the family kindly requests that memorial donations be made to UNC Gillings School of Global Public Health: Dr. Sarah Taylor Morrow Scholarship Fund or to the NC Public Health Association Sarah Morrow Award at the links above at “Memorial Gifts and Donations”, as Sarah believed in supporting causes aimed at helping others.

Share memories and condolences to the Morrow family by visiting the “Tribute Wall”.

Wilmington Funeral & Cremation 1535 S. 41st Street, Wilmington, NC 28403

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  • April 03, 2024
    Muge Akpinar-Elci says:
    To the remarkable Dr. Sarah Morrow, her legacy as a tireless advocate for public health will forever inspire generations to come. Her contributions to public health have touched countless lives and continue to shape the future of healthcare. As a foreigner, her warm acceptance of my family also resonates deeply, reflecting her inclusive spirit. Dr. John Morrow, Suzanne and Sarah’s hospitality during Thanksgiving remains a cherished memory. Thank you for not only your profound impact to public health but also for your generosity and bridge cultures with grace. With deepest respect and gratitude.

  • March 26, 2024
    Fran McNutt says:
    A great person has gone to the next realm. She, Sarah as I knew her, will be greatly missed by me and LOTS of others.

  • March 26, 2024
    Fran McNutt says:
    I was privileged to address this charming, elegant and compassionate person simply as Sarah. Preceded in death by her second son, Paul, my bestest friend, I spent many an hour, day and weekend in and around Sarah and her family, almost always joyous, because there were tough times as well. But, she ALWAYS demonstrated love and wisdom in appreciating her surroundings and friends. I will miss her greatly.

  • March 23, 2024
    Sally Herndon says:
    Dr. Sarah Morrow was such an inspiration to my life and my public health career! I'll never forget - I was in the office early one morning and realized it was a new team member's birthday, so I rushed to the drugstore to get a birthday card. It was only about 8:30 am, and I ran into Dr. Morrow, who greeted me kindly, and announced that it was the first day of her real retirement, after trying to retire many times, and she was surprised that she actually slept in, almost to 7am! We had a good laugh and caught up a bit. I was so happy to see her! I am also grateful for her public health family, and especially my mentor, her son, Dr John Morrow, whose leadership carries on with all he taught us.

  • March 07, 2024
    Meredith Chamberlain-Abreu says:
    Taylor & Lucas, and all the wonderful Morrows I’ve come to know over the last 35 years…I’m so sorry to hear of Granny Docs passing. And Granny Doc is how Penny first introduced her to me! She was always so sweet and kind whenever I got to see her in Wilmington. She has left a tremendous legacy for you all! Know I am thinking of you all and sending prayers.