Elizabeth Elinor Morton Brasher was born on September 9, 1956 in Evanston, Illinois. She was the only child born to the late James Thomas Morton Jr. and Constance Lorraine Hairston Morton.
Growing up Elizabeth was a fun-loving, happy, and curiouschild. Her mother Lorraine was the baby of ten siblings, and Elizabeth enjoyed being the baby cousin to a host of first cousins who spent their childhood summers together at the family home in Winston-Salem, NC. In middle school and high school, Elizabeth was active in sports and activities, including running track and singing in the school choir.
After graduating from Evanston Township High School, Elizabeth spent her first year of college attending Spelman College in Atlanta, Georgia. She returned to Evanston to complete her undergraduate studies at what was then National College of Education (now National-Louis University), earning a Bachelor of Arts in Human Services. At this time she reconnected and married longtime high school friend Robert Lee Brasher, and they had two daughters, Elizabeth Keziah and Constance Mariah. Although they divorced, Elizabeth and Robert remained great friends until his death in April 2000.
Elizabeth spent the majority of her professional life serving in administrator roles in higher education administration, spending just 7 months shy of 30 years as an employee of Northwestern University. At Northwestern, she worked for the Institute for Learning Sciences and was Assistant Director for the Infrastructure Technology Institute (ITI) for 20 years. In these positions Elizabeth managed a multitude of areas including budgets and grants management, human resources, building management, and event planning. She cherished her time in the ITI department and became great friends with her former supervisor and mentor, the late Dave Shultz. At the time of her passing Elizabeth was a member of Northwestern’s Office ofEquity. As Program Administrator she worked diligently tosupport the university’s mission of fostering an environment in which all members of the community were free from discrimination and harassment. It was immensely important to her that she be a leader in these efforts and provide compassion and guidance to those in need.
Elizabeth was a deep-rooted and active member in the Evanston community, serving as a member of many community boards and organizations. Highlights of her service include serving asPresident of First Night Evanston, Incorporated (2006-2008), President of the Mental Health America of the North Shore (2008-2010), and a member of the Board of Directors of Evanston’s YWCA/North Shore (2010-2018) where she served as Chairperson for the Racial Justice Committee. In addition, Elizabeth was an Advisory Board Member of the Forrest E. Powell Foundation and the Shorefront Legacy Center. She was also a proud member of the Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Incorporated, since 1977. Elizabeth’s proudest moment of service was serving as campaign manager for her motherLorraine H. Morton during her fourth and final run for Mayor of Evanston in 2005. Both Elizabeth and Lorraine expressed pure joy working together, and it proved to be a very successful partnership as the campaign led to Lorraine winning her fourth term with an astounding 73% of the vote. This is a moment in Elizabeth’s life of community service that she always held close to her heart.
Elizabeth’s parents instilled in her the importance and sanctity of family, the value of education, and the responsibility of service to others and community. She worked tirelessly to uphold andinstill these same values in her children. She is remembered by her family and friends as kind, generous, and a pillar of strength, sharing her mother’s traits of an infectious laugh and magnetic smile. Friends and colleagues also regarded her as a sounding board for advise and guidance, always offering a helping hand or hug whenever needed. Most especially, Elizabeth became a “second mama” to many of her daughter’s friends growing up, welcoming them into her home whenever they needed a good meal, a good talk, or even a good party. Elizabeth’s legacy is forever rooted in her service to family, community, andfriendship.
Elizabeth is survived by her two daughters Elizabeth Keziah Brasher of Atlanta, GA and Constance Mariah Brasher of Niles, IL. She is also survived by first cousins Lois Pace Hairston Turner of Winston-Salem, NC, Vera Stepp (Henry Edward Stepp) of Winston-Salem, NC, Denise Burger of Wasilla, AK, Marion Elizabeth Winfrey of Boston, MA, Tom Baric of Plano, TX, Sol William Winfrey of Freehold, NJ, and Johnny Winfrey of Freehold, NJ; and many other second and third cousins and hosts of close friends.
Arrangements entrusted to Thompson Funeral & Cremation Services, Inc. Mr. Philip L. Gillette~ Funeral Director