“That’s how I do it,’’ she said. “That song. You get up and shake it off.’’
Creating a family
Joe Morrissey and Linda Kay Ramirez Llanos, both divorced, met at the Goodwin Institute for Cancer Research in Plantation. She was studying microbiology at Nova Southeastern; he was conducting research. He had a son; she had a daughter, and now has a grandchild.
Joe proposed to Kay in Rome. They married in October 1997 and tried, unsuccessfully, to have a child before adopting Patrick.
Michigan-born Joseph James Morrissey grew up in Palm Beach County, where he and younger brother, John, graduated from Lake Worth High School and served as altar boys.
Joe, who loved the water, took up water skiing and fishing. Years later, he would build a 12-foot wooden runabout in the garage, to take Kay and Patrick fishing in Biscayne Bay.
Joe held degrees from the University of South Florida, the University of Miami and Stanford: molecular biology, from the medical school. He worked a year at Boston’s renowned Dana Farber Cancer Institute, and specialized in childhood-leukemia research.
In the 1990s, he patented a blood-test kit which, according to his brother, will greatly reduce the cost and pain of detecting and typing certain leukemias, replacing bone-marrow tests.
“He was smarter than the average bear,’’ said John Morrissey, a Palm Beach County lawyer. “One day you’ll see a version of the kit in commercial use.’’
While at Stanford, Joe got a grant from Motorola to research suspected links between certain radio frequencies, mainly from cellphones, and cancer.
“Then they hired him to oversee all the grants they give to labs around the world,’’ his brother said.
As a visiting professor at Nova Southeastern, he got a grant to set up a lab researching “the use of heat to stimulate cells and whether it adds or detracts from the benefits of cancer treatments,’’ his brother said.
He belonged to the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers, and served on committees of the International Commission on Non-Ionizing Radiation Protection.
When Joe was alive, the Morrisseys’ day began about 4 a.m. He’d go running. Kay would make breakfast. They’d go over homework with Patrick while they ate.
Kay, 51, still gets up at 4, but before she does anything, she listens to Stand. The last verse is where she finds herself now.
Everytime you get up
And get back in the race
One more small piece of you
Starts to fall into place.
For more than two years, Kay Morrissey’s single-minded goal was bringing Randy W. Tundidor and his son, Randy H. Tundidor, to justice.
Randy W., 46, whom she calls “Senior,’’ is facing the death penalty. “Junior,’’ 24, who cooperated with police, got 40 years — not nearly enough for Kay, who feels that he, too, deserves to die, but she understands how deals are made.
A second son, Shawn Tundidor, who wasn’t involved in the crime, lives and works in Broward County.
On May 9, 2012, a Broward Circuit Court jury found Senior guilty of murder and kidnapping. To this day, Kay Morrissey recalls the satisfying “click’’ that the handcuffs made as a bailiff clamped them onto Senior’s fleshy wrists.