Wrisley Funeral Home
90 Sugarloaf Street, South Deerfield, MA 01373
Office: 413-665-4046             Fax: 413-665-0975
Morris Salame
The family plans a celebration of life via Zoom later this year; please contact lsalame@hotmail.com for information

The world lost a beautiful soul when Morris Salame passed peacefully on October 26, 2020 in Sunderland, MA, surrounded by family after a brief illness. Morris had a unique way of touching people’s hearts, whether it was family, friends, or even those he met only briefly, like strangers while traveling abroad, or someone he struck up in conversation while dining alone at a restaurant bar. But those who were closest to him called him their favorite person, and felt his light shine brightly on them. 

 

Born in Jacksonville, FL on June 18, 1932 to immigrant parents (Theodore from Beirut and Rebecca from Damascus), the family relocated to Winthrop, MA, residing on the ocean in front of the “Five Sisters” wave breakers, which they called the “Five Brothers” (Morris was predeceased by his brothers Joseph, Edward, Isaac, and Robert). After several years working with his father in the family Oriental rug business, Morris sought a different path. In 1952 he enlisted in the Army, graduating from the Defense Language Institute Foreign Language Center in Monterey, CA then serving as an Arab translator for the National Security Administration and the United Nations.

 

After leaving the Army in 1955, he moved to Boston, where he met Marjorie Innes of Franklin, NH, whom he married on June 30, 1957. In 1956 he was accepted to the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, but when a new baby came along in 1958, his studies suffered and he nearly flunked out. A letter from Margie to the Dean changed his life forever; he received another chance and excelled in Course X under Alan S. Michaels. Morris had a kinship with his linguistic teacher, Noam Chomsky, who enjoyed Margie’s NH accent while dining in their apartment. In 1960, Morris graduated Dean’s List with a B.S. in Chemical Engineering. MIT continued to be an important part of his life. He regularly attended events and was an active fundraiser. In 2010, his family joined him for his induction into the Cardinal and Gray Society, receiving his 50-year alumni red jacket.

 

Morris said after graduation he had many job offers but, on a flight to CA for an interview, “I struck up a conversation with the man next to me. When he heard of the work I had done at MIT, he almost jumped out of his seat. He worked for Plax, a company in Hartford, CT that had invented the world’s first plastic bottle. What a great fit since packaging in plastic certainly depended on the knowledge I had gained. By the time we landed, he had all but made me a job offer!” With Plax, which was acquired by Monsanto in 1962, Morris developed a correlation between permeability and polymer structure (“Permachor”) and by 1969 his lab produced a re-usable and recyclable container for Coca-Cola Co., which soon became the world’s first food/beverage plastic container. He rose to Senior Science Fellow, the equivalent of Vice President, leaving in 1988 when his division was sold. With his own consultancy, Polysultants Co., he and Margie traveled the world, offering a course in “High Barrier Plastic Packaging,” to help companies with packaging/polymer problems. Morris held several patents, published over 200 articles and texts, lectured widely, and had professional honors and association memberships.

 

Morris was raised Jewish but became Unitarian when he met Margie. He was a peaceful man who believed in service. He served on the board and committees of the Unitarian Society of Hartford. He was a member of the Exchange Club of Windsor, holding every officer position from president to secretary (multiple times); they honored his 45 years of service recognizing his contributions towards raising thousands of dollars for scholarships and other youth programs.

 

Morris had his share of hardships, from losing his mother as a teen, to multiple cancers, to living with Myasthenia Gravis, to losing his beloved Margie in 1997. Still, he always maintained a positive attitude. His parents-in-law nicknamed him “Wonderful, Wonderful,” and that he was, especially as husband and father. He was quick witted and had a great sense of humor, often light heartedly pulling someone’s leg or offering a quick one liner. Years ago he and friends crashed a fancy party in Hilton Head and he pretended to be a rich sheikh; recently he was having blood drawn and said, “I charge for that, you know.” One thing that made him angry was injustice, and he often commented on current events; he was eagerly awaiting the election and felt confident that our current president would be ousted!

 

Morris was a Renaissance man. You were just as likely to find him reading Einstein or Hawking as pouring through car magazines or EBay sales. He was equally as excited by a new science discovery as by a newly discovered restaurant! He had a joie de vivre and passion for many things: chess, music (opera, classical, and big band jazz), Oriental rugs, Coca-Cola collectables, his 1959 Mercedes-Benz 190SL (and Valley Collector Car Club), the Red Sox, gourmet cooking, wine tasting, travel, swimming, golfing, and playing cribbage and poker. But his favorite thing was being Dad and “Popop.” He cherished family time, especially summers in NH at the family lake house, “Just-a-Camp.” He showered those he loved with praise and his signature “abusik,” an Arab variation of “I love you.”

 

Many are feeling this loss, including: his two daughters, Laurie Salame and Karen Kosovsky (and her husband Joel); three grandsons, Brian Kosovsky (and his wife Hannah), Matthew Kosovsky, and Cali Salame (and his brother Jorge Baez-Conklin); his step-siblings, Sumra Salame, Shara Hernandez, and Ted Salame (he was predeceased by twin step-brothers, James and John); many nieces, nephews, and close family friends; and his devoted feline companion, Barney. The family thanks Cooley Dickinson VNA & Hospice for their care and support. Donations in his memory can be made to the Webster Lake Association, PO Box 44, Franklin, NH 03235, or online https://www.websterlakenh.com/. The family plans a celebration of life via Zoom later this year; please contact lsalame@hotmail.com for information.