86-year-old woman dies after suffering heat stroke while gardening, family says

The family of Mary Morrer, 86, says she suffered a heat stroke and died while gardening. (Source: WALA)
Published: May. 16, 2023 at 5:51 PM CDT
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MOBILE, Ala. (WALA/Gray News) - An Alabama woman has died after suffering a heat-related illness while gardening.

Mary Morrer, 86, was recently gardening outside of her home in temperatures above 90 degrees when she suffered a heat stroke and died, according to her family.

“She wasn’t the type of person to stay in the house,” Vernita Burrell, the woman’s sister, said. “If she saw something, she was going to do it.”

Morrer worked in her yard all the time, but when the heat got her, the family said it was too late.

“I think it was a little bit too hot out there. It was over 93 degrees,” Burrell said. “She had a heat stroke and died.”

According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, about 650 people die every year from heat-related illnesses.

Dr. William Roy said headache, nausea and dizziness are just a few of the signs to look for regarding heat stroke.

“If you’re waiting until you are already experiencing symptoms, you’re already behind,” Roy said. “You need to hydrate well before you go out into the environment.”

Roy also recommended for those to avoid going outside in the middle of the day during the heat. Instead, do any outside activities in the early morning or late evening, if possible.

Morrer’s family urged others to check on their family members and to be aware of the dangerous heat.

“If it’s too hot, please do not go outside. Stay inside and drink plenty of water because this could happen to you,” Burrell said.

Morrer was born in Mobile and called Alabama home for her entire life.

Authorities said if someone is experiencing a heat-related illness to immediately call 911 and move them to a shady or air-conditioned place.