The University of Oregon Ducks football players and the residents of Medford lost one of their foremost boosters upon the passing of J Richard Morgan, 88, August 10, 2014. He died in his Medford home, a place he loved. At his side was his wife, Kathy, the love of his life. No service is planned.
Richard was born in a car outside his uncle's house on North Riverside in Medford on June 22, 1926. He was reared by Granny Morgan and Aunt Belle. Richard was baptized into the Catholic Church July 28, and received First Communion. His early life was one of material poverty and sickness. At age 8 he was diagnosed with Osteomyelitis and spent a year in the Shriner's Hospital in Portland. The illness, which resulted in 30 surgeries, was finally controlled when he was 29. But it kept him in pain his entire life. Although he missed a lot of school because of his health, he became the first person in his family to graduate from high school when he graduated from Medford Senior High School in 1947. Despite his poor health, at age 10, he began working as a paper boy for the Mail Tribune. Richard saved his money to buy stock in Pacific Power. Richard's work as a paper boy also endowed him with a love for newspapers. As an adult, he was hired by the Mail Tribune, became a printer, and was employed by the paper for 50 years. His first wife was the late Dena Shollenburg. They married in 1952 and had two daughters, Delinda and Denise. It was at the Mail Tribune where he would meet the lady who would become his second wife. After dating for 10 years, he and Kathy married in 1996 and spent many happy years traveling the globe. But Richard always looked forward to returning to his beloved Medford.
Come the end of every August, a telltale smile would spread across his face. The Oregon Ducks were about to begin football season. He and Kathy attended every home game for more than 20 years. When he wasn't rooting for the Ducks, Richard found ways to applaud the community where he was born. After his retirement from the Mail Tribune, he volunteered for two decades at the Visitor's Center in Medford. He relished telling visitors about his hometown. Richard enjoyed woodworking and keeping the valley supplied with wine cork-filled trivets. He also was an avid fisherman. He attended both North and South football games.
He was preceded in death by his first wife, Dena; and a daughter, Denise Morgan. In addition to his wife, Kathy, survivors include a brother, Standlee Morgan, Medford; daughter, Delinda Deeks, Salem; a granddaughter, Amanda Nix, Medford; and a cat named Sheltie he claimed to hate but really adored.
Richard and Kathy want to thank Elssy Kinyon and Nick Koutsouros, of Medford; Linda Spencer, of Butte Falls; Kathy McCartney, of Central Point; and Ann Sprague, of Eagle Point, for their kindness.
Memorial contributions may be made to: The Shriner's Hospital, 3101 SW Sam Jackson Park Road, Portland, OR 97201.