Over the past 63 years, 11 presidents have come and gone, wars have been won and lost, and the long-term care industry has experienced a roller-coaster of changes. But one thing has remained consistent: Nora Morant has served residents at Charles Morris Nursing and Rehabilitation Center of the Jewish Association on Aging.
A linen aide, Morant was the winner of LeadingAge’s “longest tenured employee” contest, clocking in with 63 years of service at the Pittsburgh facility. Kass Nice, a dietary technician with Living Branches in Lansdale, PA, came in second with 52 years, while tying for third with 50 years each were Barbara Best, a certified nursing aide from Francis E. Parker Memorial Home in New Jersey, and Patricia Trexler, a licensed practical nurse from Lutheran Home at Topton in Pennsylvania. All were recognized at the organization’s October conference.
One of six children, Morant says she had a happy childhood in which her mother, a seamstress, “made everything and she grew everything.”
“We had to make our school clothes,” she says. “There was no BS’ing with her — if we didn’t do it right, she’d rip it out.”
She went with her sister to the nursing home in 1949 in what she describes as a conspiracy between her mother and sister to help Morant find a job.
“I couldn’t say no,” she says, recalling that she promised that she would give it an earnest try. Soon, she became one of the few people trusted to clean the chandelier. Work on various floors followed. At the time, the nursing home had a number of Orthodox residents, and it was an era when all residents were addressed more formally, by courtesy title and last name. “They told you, ‘You must give them that respect,’” she remembers.
Morant left her parents’ house when she was 39 and moved in with a roommate. She continued to work in the laundry department. Morant worked without being part of a union until 1970; eventually, she served as its president for two decades.
“I really enjoy it here, I look at them as my family,” she says.
Human Resources Director Linda Fehl says Morant has high expectations of herself and those around her.
“She never calls off; she is always on time. She holds her workers accountable,” Fehl says. “Nora keeps us on task. She’s the first one to go to the administration to get something fixed.”
Morant says she has worked hard to help fellow employees “clean up their acts.” She has been a “great mentor,” says Mary Bray, a food and nutrition worker who joined the home’s staff in 1986.
“She’s still got me under her wing. We’ve come a long way,” Bray adds.
Morant, now 80, is still working, although she says she is planning to retire soon. “I’m not going to work forever,” she explains.
She travels frequently, including to Las Vegas, California and Hawaii, and often visits her one remaining sister. But, in recognition of where she received her award at the LeadingAge national convention, she names Denver as a high point.
“This trip has been wonderful,” she says.
Begins work in August at what is then known as the Jewish Home and Hospital in Pittsburgh, which later becomes the Riverview Nursing Home
Charles Morris Nursing and Rehabilitation Center replaces Riverview, debuts new building
Steps down as union local chapter president after
Honored at LeadingAge annual meeting as its “longest tenured employee” in long-term care