Lionel Gratiot Morony was born in Omaha, Neb., Aug. 7, 1876, being the second son of Edward and Isabel Morony. During his early years his family removed to New York city, where his father had extensive banking and other business interests. When Lionel was ten years old the elder Morony died, leaving his business in such condition that in the settlement of his estate little was left to provide for his surviving family. Soon after his father's death the subject of this sketch was practically a homeless boy, earning his living by whatever honest means could be found. After the first day's search for work he found himself not only without food and shelter, but with the soles of his shoes literaally[sic] worn out from constant walking. At this time he actually went for three days without either food or shelter before he could find work to support himself. For years after this the boy suffered privations and hardships of the most severe character, but through all his struggles he constantly endeavored to get nearer to the goal he had set for himself. In those days second hand school books were sold by street vendors in New York, and Lionel Morony got his early education by buying these books for a few pennies and selling them back when he had mastered their contents. His school room was a box with its back or open part turned toward a friendly, well-lighted window. More than one cold, winter night has been spent in this "school room" laying the foundation for a future education. A boy with such determination could not fail, so this boy won friends and promotion as the years went on. He went from one position to another filling places of trust at an age when most boys are fortunate enough to be in school and enjoying the protection of a home. Finally at eighteen years of age Lionel Morony found that his hard work and stinging privations had not been in vain. He had always been eager to study for the ministry and all his energies had been in this direction. At eighteen he had the advantage of taking lectures at Columbia, Princeton and the College of the City of New York, all of which he had accomplished by dint of severe sacrifice and great physical strain. For years he never had more than three or four hours sleep a night, remaining up to complete his studies. Only an iron constitution could stand the strain this young man put upon himself. At eighteen he entered the General Theological Seminary of the Episcopal church in New York, being the youngest man who ever entered the institution. At once he began doing student missionary work in the diocese of Long Island. His first charge was a small mission at Brookhaven. In less than three years Mr. Morony had built it up to a strong church, added a large wing to the building and made many other improvements. From here he went to Center Moriches, which was a new summer resort just opening up. Bishop Littlejohn of Long Island sent Mr. Morony to open up the church work as the one best fitted to undertake this important work. In six months he had built and paid for a beautiful church building and in less than one year had it splendidly furnished. At the end of three years this was one of the best summer churches on Long Island. Soon after this his early privations began to tell on the health of Mr. Morony and a change to a drier climate became necessary. Consequently in 1900 he removed to Kansas, serving at Great Bend, Eldorado, Iola and Kansas City, where he now is as rector of Saint Paul's church.
Mr. Morony has long been recognized as a public spirited citizen and has been identified with much of the civic progress in Kansas City during the last five years. He has served the state as a member of the State Conference of Charities and Correction and the county and city as chairman of the Wyandotte County Commission on Juvenile Affairs and president of the board of directors of the Associated Charities. In the life of his church Mr. Morony has long filled an important place. He is chairman of the Sunday school commission for the diocese of Kansas and was selected by the convention of his church to head the committee that prepared a new set of laws to govern the diocese, as well as to head the important committee that decided the legal status of every corporation in the diocese. In the church at large he has also rendered active service, being chosen by the presiding bishop of his church to perform the difficult and important task of organizing an educational convention for the states in the southwestern portion of the United States. Recently he has been appointed to the position of secretary of the council of the Department of the Southwest.
In June, 1904, Mr. Morony was united in marriage to Mary Louise Gardner, youngest daughter of Harry H. Gardner of Eldorado, Kan. To this union two sons have been born: Gardner Gratiot Morony (deceased), and Gregory Sears Morony.Pages 730-732 from volume III, part 1 of Kansas: a cyclopedia of state history, embracing events, institutions, industries, counties, cities, towns, prominent persons, etc. ... / with a supplementary volume devoted to selected personal history and reminiscence. Standard Pub. Co. Chicago : 1912. 3 v. in 4. : front., ill., ports.; 28 cm. Vols. I-II edited by Frank W. Blackmar. Transcribed December 2002 by Carolyn Ward. This volume is identified at the Kansas State Historical Society as microfilm LM195. It is a two-part volume 3.
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