John Morgan ’47
Community leader and YMCA executive John Morgan ’47 died Aug. 1, 2014. He was 90.
Morgan spent more than 40 years working for YMCAs in the Midwest and on the West Coast, including 20 years at the Tacoma, Washington, YMCA. He was born in 1924 in Des Moines, Iowa, served in the U.S. Navy during World War II, and graduated from Cornell College in 1947. At Cornell he met his wife, Shirley Reynolds Morgan ’47, and the pair were married on campus a year after graduation. Shirley Morgan died 10 months before John Morgan.
Morgan started working for the YMCA in Chicago, and then moved on to several positions in California and Oregon. In 1969 community leaders in Tacoma asked him to revitalize that city’s YMCA. Morgan took over the faltering program and in less than 10 years increased membership from 600 to more than 15,000. He oversaw the building of a new facility that today bears his name, working at the existing building during the day and spending the evenings painting the new one.
Tacoma leaders credited him with restoring the community’s faith in the YMCA by introducing new classes and activities and focusing on service. Morgan retired in 1989 as CEO of the Tacoma YMCA. During retirement he traveled around the world and stayed involved with YMCA programs.
He is survived by two sons, a daughter, and two grandchildren.