Lorraine (Cicero) Moritz, an inspired educator of young children, died peacefully on Jan. 9, 2023 at Cape Cod Hospital of complications related to pneumonia. She was 100.
The daughter of Carmen and Mae Cicero, Lorraine was born on Sept. 2, 1922 in Newark, N.J. She attended Barringer High School and won a scholarship to Pratt Institute at age 16, intending to study fashion design. She had to decline because her father considered her too young to live in New York.
Lorraine instead earned a B.A. from Upsala College, but her love of art and fashion remained strong. She worked for Bristol Myers in the engineering department. There she met her future husband, Fred Moritz. The couple married following World War II and moved to Manhattan, where they lived for about 20 years.
During that time, Lorraine worked at the New York Telephone Company and Bloomingdale’s, among other jobs, before finding her true calling as an elementary school teacher. She initially commuted to a school in Clifton, N.J., then switched to a school in Spanish Harlem.
Lorraine loved her students, and drawing on her considerable skills as an artist she wrote and directed plays for them, assisted them with preparing backdrops, and collaborated with colleagues on music. “She was always upbeat, with a good sense of humor,” her brother Carmen said.
In 1963, she won the National Teacher of the Year Award. Life magazine sent photographers and a writer to gather material for the cover story for the last week of November 1963, but that story was displaced by the assassination of John F. Kennedy.
Lorraine left her Harlem school when she and Fred moved to Livingston and later Millburn, N.J.; she taught third and fifth grades in Livingston.
To all who knew her, Carmen said, “she was a very pretty, vivacious woman who was always well groomed and elegantly dressed, qualities that she considered important. She was also gentle, kind, and generous.”
Beyond her passion for teaching, Lorraine loved to cook, travel, read, garden, shop, and design things. She often gave a lighthearted chuckle in her enjoyment of life and people, Carmen added.
Following the death of her husband, Lorraine took up permanent residence at their summer home in Wellfleet. In 1985, Malcolm Murphy, a native of Wellfleet, became her partner until he died in 2013.
Lorraine always loved Wellfleet but moved to Orleans when she was 95 for health and safety reasons, enjoying her new friends at Wise Living.
She is survived by her brother, artist Carmen Cicero and wife Mary Abell of New York City and Truro; her nieces, Janet Cicero of Berkeley Heights, N.J. and Susan Cicero of Kinnelon, N.J.; her nephews, Jeffrey and wife Shannon Cicero of Spottswood, N.J., Douglas and wife Thesa of Kinnelon, N.J., and Josephine Cicero of Berkeley Heights; her great-nieces, Alexandra, Elizabeth, Katrina, Valerie, and Angelina; her great-nephew Michael; and her devoted friend Jean Cook of Harwich.
Lorraine was predeceased by her brothers Joseph and Donald.
For information on Lorraine’s memorial, email [email protected].