Tom Morea would’ve ranked the day his daughter married her wife as one of the happiest of his life.
“He was excited that was something that was possible for me,” Lauren Morea said. “That wasn’t possible for him because of his generation.”
Morea was married to Gwenne Morea before he came out.
Lauren added that the first thing her father did when she came out was buy her a membership to the Human Rights Campaign, a national LGBT organization. He also bought a membership for her girlfriend, Katherine, now her wife.
Lauren this week remembered her father, who died April 30 after he fell and hit his head at home. He was 68. Morea had been a member of the Spruce Street Singers, a gay men’s choir, and active in the Philadelphia LGBT scene in the early 2000s.
He lived in Mt. Laurel, N.J., and graduated from the New Jersey Medical School at Rutgers University before serving as a medic in the U.S. Army. Later, Morea worked as a radiologist at Upright MRI in Cherry Hill, N.J.
“He was the life of the party,” said Lauren, who now lives in Ohio. “He loved to sing and dance. He could turn anything you ever said into a song.”
Chris Bartlett, executive director of the William Way LGBT Community Center, got to know Morea at his Christmas party in New Jersey two years ago. Morea had been a volunteer and donor at the center for a number of years by that point.
“What a generous person Tom was,” Bartlett said. “We appreciated all he did to support the center. He always went out of his way to connect us to other supporters.”
Morea also made life an adventure for his kids. Lauren remembered one year when she and her brothers, Justin and Timothy, all got bow-and-arrow sets. The family had a treehouse in the backyard and the biggest pool in the neighborhood.
“He didn’t like to relax,” Lauren said. “For vacation, we went skiing or white-water rafting. Even when we went to the beach, he didn’t lay on the sand. He went parasailing.”
“My dad was very unconventional,” she added. “He had the best smile and the biggest heart.”
Besides his children, Morea is survived by his grandchildren: Ryan, Alexander, Samantha and Oliver; as well as nieces and nephews from his sisters Patsy and Anne.
In lieu of flowers, people can make contributions in Morea’s memory to the William Way LGBT Community Center or the Human Rights Campaign.