Morel, Elton S. (1933–2008)

By Mary Grace Ladion-De Guzman

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Mary Grace Ladion-De Guzman taught at Lipa Adventist Academy for eleven years, the first established academy within the territory of South Central Luzon Conference. She is a licensed science teacher and holds a master's degree in Science Education. She is particularly interested in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) education and staff development. Her husband, Marlon De Guzman, is a senior auditor for the South Central Luzon Conference. They have two children. Guzman is currently pursuing a Ph.D. in Education with a specialization in Curriculum and Instruction from the Adventist International Institute of Advanced Studies.

Elton S. Morel was a medical doctor who led out in several health reforms both in the Philippines and the United States, most specifically the Five-Day Plan to Stop Smoking campaign.

Early Life, Education and Marriage

Elton S. Morel was born on March 17, 1933, to missionary parents Dr. Elton L. Morel and Dr. D. A. Courville in the Belgian Congo, Africa (now Democratic Republic of Congo or DRC).1 Morel’s father was a medical doctor born in Illinois and was called to serve in Congo Union Mission, African Division, on April 6, 1931.2 Morel spent his younger days in DRC. He was baptized in April 1946.3

Morel obtained his basic education at Glendale Union Academy. Then he attended Pacific Union College and La Sierra College for his Bachelor’s Degree in Biology with a minor in History. He proceeded to obtain a medical degree at Loma Linda University.4 He spoke both English and Spanish.

Dr. Morel married Carol Elaine, from Indiana, United States of America. Their union was blessed with three children: Deborah Lynn, Catherine Lavonne, and Elton Louis.5

Ministry

Dr. Morel started his denominational career in July 1963 after he completed his residency in Glendale, California. He was called to serve the Manila Sanitarium and Hospital (MSH) in Manila, Philippines.6 The Morel family arrived in Manila on July 26, 1963.7

Dr. Morel took the responsibility as the 10th medical director of MSH, replacing Dr. G. E. Ekvall. The latter left the post to assume the responsibility as the Far Eastern Division medical secretary. Dr. Morel was the first overseas doctor who was a diplomat of the American Board of Obstetrics and Gynecology. He was also known to be the first Filipino to hold such a certificate during that time in the Philippines.8

In early 1967, MSH received funding from the First National City Bank of New York (FNCB) to support the medical wing construction of the 3rd floor. FNCB Vice President Peter Tileston handed the check to Dr. Morel amounting to P10,000. The rest of the MSH administrators were also there to witness such an important occasion. The estimated budget to cover the whole construction and modernization of the equipment to cater services to the elite approximately amounted to P600,000.9 MSH had already raised half of the estimated expenses.

Several developments in MSH happened during the time of Dr. Morel’s leadership. These included the beautification of the front grounds and parking space.10 In 1968, the new deluxe floor of the medical wing located on the 3rd floor was inaugurated.11 This development was called by the president of the Philippine Medical Association, Dr. Jose Galvez, as the “best in the Philippines.” The realization of this project was a team effort of the administrators from the General Conference, Division, Union, MSH, MSH staff, and friends.

From October 26 to 30, 1970, MSH sponsored a Five-Day Plan Stop Smoking Seminar. Dr. Morel served as the lecturer for about 90 prominent people who attended the program at the Manila Hotel. Many have wonderful testimonies how they overcame tobacco addiction.12 Due to the success of this effort and the positive response of the public, a similar program was implemented in Cebu City. This was sponsored by the Rotary Club and was held at the Filipino Club House. Forty-one executives and managers attended the program and were blessed by the lectures given by Dr. Morel and Pastor Woolsey. A tremendous result happened. At the end of the seminar, many struggling souls were freed from the slavery of smoking.13

After eight years serving MSH, Dr. Morel and his family permanently returned to the U.S. On March 4, 1971, the family was given authorization for permanent return due to educational reasons.14 Dr. Morel greatly helped the development and progress of MSH. He, then, was called to serve in Fresno California.15

Dr. Morel partnered with Dr. Clint Nelson, a pathologist in the United States, to provide clinical advice to interested people who want to stop smoking. The Fresno Central SDA Church had been the venue of the program. The American Cancer Society local branch and related organizations recognized the Five-Day Plan as the most effective way to stop smoking. Since then, the Adventists were looked upon as the forwarders of the no-smoking area.16

As a medical practitioner and member of Fresno Central SDA Church, Dr. Morel remained active in church functions. Upon his return to the United States, he no longer worked for the denomination. Instead, he started “a long and respected OBGyn practice.”17 He served as the chief of staff at Fresno Community Hospital. Also, he was a member of the medical advisory board of Saint Agnes Hospital in Fresno, California. He retired in 1995.18

Later Life

After Dr. Morel retired from his medical practice of 32 years, he remained active in various services that required his expertise. He served in different leadership functions both in the Church and the community at Fresno, California. He was always ready to share his knowledge with others and fulfill his role effectively. On January 18, 2008, Dr. Morel breathed his last. He had suffered from a series of major illnesses.19

Legacy

Dr. Morel's commitment to the advancement of the MSH cannot be overstated. He led out in several health reforms both in the Philippines and the United States, most specifically the Five-Day Plan to Stop Smoking campaign. He made significant contributions in medical practice to the Church and Central California Conference. His enthusiasm for taking the role of various church leadership for more than 30 years has been contagious.

Sources

Alsaybar, B. B. “Major Posts Filled by Manila Men.” Far Eastern Division Outlook, November 1966.

Alsaybar, B. B. “Ps. 10,000 Boost from National City Bank.” Far Eastern Division Outlook, May 1967.

Alsaybar, B. B. “Manila Sanitarium Inaugurates New Deluxe Floor.” Far Eastern Division Outlook, November 1968.

Banaag, P. C. “Manila Sanitarium Sponsors Another Five-Day Plan.” Far Eastern Division Outlook, January 1971.

“Elton Morel,” obituary, fresnobee.com. Accessed, July 6, 2021. www.legacy.com/us/obituaries/fresnobee.

General Conference Committee Minutes, April 6, 1931, September 13, 1962, and February 25, 1971.

Generato, D. J. Jr. “Rotary Club Sponsors Five-Day Plan.” Far East Division Outlook, April 1971.

Morel, E. S. “Service Record.” Southern-Asia Pacific Division Archives.

Morel, E. S. “1888.” ARH, December 25, 1986.

“Ribbon Cutting at Manila Sanitarium's New Front.” Far Eastern Division Outlook, November 1967.

White, Charles. “Hospital Supports the Five-Day Plan.” Pacific Union Recorder, March 24, 1975.

Notes

  1. Elton S. Morel, “Service Record,” Southern-Asia Pacific Division Archives.

  2. General Conference Committee Minutes, April 6, 1931, 259.

  3. Morel, “Service Record.”

  4. Ibid.

  5. Ibid.

  6. General Conference Committee Minutes, September 13, 1962, 29. Accessed, July 6, 2021, https://documents.adventistarchives.org/Minutes/GCC/GCC1962-09.pdf.

  7. Morel, “Service Record.”

  8. B. B. Alsaybar, “Major Posts Filled by Manila Men,” Far Eastern Division Outlook, November 1966, 9.

  9. B. B. Alsaybar, “Ps. 10,000 Boost from National City Bank,” Far Eastern Division Outlook, May 1967, 9-10.

  10. “Ribbon Cutting at Manila Sanitarium's New Front,” Far Eastern Division Outlook, November 1967, 9.

  11. B. B. Alsaybar, “Manila Sanitarium Inaugurates New Deluxe Floor,” Far Eastern Division Outlook, November 1968, 10-11.

  12. P. C. Banaag, “Manila Sanitarium Sponsors Another Five-Day Plan,” Far Eastern Division Outlook, January 1971, 7.

  13. D. J. Generato, Jr., “Rotary Club Sponsors Five-Day Plan,” Far East Division Outlook, April 1971, 7-8.

  14. General Conference Committee Minutes, February 25, 1971, 15. Accessed, July 6, 2021, https://documents.adventistarchives.org/Minutes/GCC/GCC1971-03.pdf.

  15. Elton S. Morel, “1888,” ARH, December 25, 1986, 2.

  16. Charles White, “Hospital Supports the Five-Day Plan,” Pacific Union Recorder, March 24, 1975, 3.

  17. “Elton Morel,” obituary, fresnobee.com, accessed, July 6, 2021, www.legacy.com/us/obituaries/fresnobee.

  18. Ibid.

  19. Ibid.

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Guzman, Mary Grace Ladion-De. "Morel, Elton S. (1933–2008)." Encyclopedia of Seventh-day Adventists. July 22, 2021. Accessed January 19, 2022. https://encyclopedia.adventist.org/article?id=1AW7.

Guzman, Mary Grace Ladion-De. "Morel, Elton S. (1933–2008)." Encyclopedia of Seventh-day Adventists. July 22, 2021. Date of access January 19, 2022, https://encyclopedia.adventist.org/article?id=1AW7.

Guzman, Mary Grace Ladion-De (2021, July 22). Morel, Elton S. (1933–2008). Encyclopedia of Seventh-day Adventists. Retrieved January 19, 2022, https://encyclopedia.adventist.org/article?id=1AW7.