Fran Morrill Schlitt, known to family as “Faigie,” died in Boston on May 9, 2020 from complications of the coronavirus at the age of 84. She will be sorely missed.
Faigie was born in Auburn (Maine) to Martin Morrill and Ida Chipman Morrill, and grew up in Dorchester, Massachusetts. She was a graduate of Brandeis University, Class of 1957, where she made lifelong friendships and discovered new intellectual, cultural, and political frontiers. Frannie earned her MSW from Boston University in 1960. She took great satisfaction in her four-decade social work career in private practice and settings as varied as the Harlem (NYC) and Concord (Mass.) school systems, the Whittier Street Health Center, and Boston College. In her life and in her career, Fran cared deeply about people: their dignity, their wellbeing, and their just treatment. She cultivated and cherished relationships with people of all backgrounds and ages.
In 1981, Fran’s life took an unexpected turn when she learned she was pregnant. She and Jacob Schlitt married that summer, and Fran gave birth to David Morrill Schlitt two days before her 46th birthday. Fran and Jacob delighted in raising a son together. Fran attributed her later-in-life interest in Jewish learning and Torah study in part to her and Jacob’s decision to send David to the Solomon Schechter Day School of Greater Boston. In the 1990s, Frannie became an active member of the Newton Centre Minyan. It was with the Minyan community that Fran and family marked many of her most significant lifecycle events, including her recovery from lung cancer after her 2007 diagnosis and treatment.
Fran was a serious thinker and a perpetual student, a proud feminist and a democratic socialist. Long before it entered the political mainstream, she was a passionate advocate for Single-Payer Healthcare (“Medicare for All”). Frannie remained committed to public healthcare and she decried the greed, cruelty, and inefficiency of the American healthcare system, nearly until her final breath.
Frannie is predeceased by her loving husband, Jacob Schlitt, and survived by son David Morrill Schlitt and daughter-in-law Sarah Zarrow of Bellingham (Washington). In recent years, Faigie mourned the loss of her cousin Libby Goldman, her sister Sallie Miles, and her brother Gerald Morrill. She treasured her relationships with her nieces and nephews, her extended family (including many who were not, strictly speaking, related), and Jacob’s adult children, Carol, Lewis, and Martha Schlitt.
A celebration of Fran Morrill Schlitt’s life will be planned for 2020-2021, as the developing public health situation permits. Contributions in Faigie’s memory may be made to Brandeis University, the Brookline Senior Center, and Mass-Care: The Massachusetts Campaign for Single-Payer Health Care.