Thousands of Charlotte schoolchildren and Baptist parishioners knew Cossetta “Cozy” Morrow by face and by menu.
Morrow, who died Wednesday at the age of 90, was a dietitian by trade and Bible school director by heart.
She launched and managed the cafeteria operations at Pinewood Elementary and South Mecklenburg High schools in the 1950s when each school opened, according to family members. Students and grandchildren alike knew her as “Memaw,” and she paid for the lunch of any child who couldn't. An enthusiastic cook, her fried chicken, corn bread and sweet tea earned a following, and she added some of that touch to the institutional cuisine of her schools.
Morrow watched the school cafeteria transform from the metal tray, midday serving line of the 1950s to a twice-a-day source of sustenance for lower-income children in the 1970s. She left the school system in 1974 to work for her church, Woodlawn Baptist.
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There she helped fill both spiritual and human appetites, preparing meals as church hostess when she wasn't leading Bible school or teaching Sunday school. Morrow believed church responsibility worked both ways, with the pastor and members helping each other grow, said longtime Woodlawn member B.J. Shepard. He recalled after a particular minister moved on: “She said, ‘We've got to raise another pastor.'”
Morrow served the church in a variety of roles for a half-century, until she was 87 years old.
Survivors include her daughter, Barbara Lagana of Charlotte, and her son, Jay Morrow, of Albuquerque, N.M.; five grandchildren and eight great-grandchildren. She was preceded in death by her husband, John, and son, John Morrow Jr.
Woodlawn Baptist Church will hold a memorial service at 5 p.m. today.