Richard “Joe” Morton ’50
Longtime Iowa State University fundraiser Richard “Joe” Morton ’50 died on Feb. 28, 2015, in Iowa Falls. He was 87.
Morton graduated from Waverly High School, where he played on the 1944 state championship baseball team. After high school he enlisted in the U.S. Navy and, after being discharged, attended Cornell College. He graduated with a degree in economics and business and the nickname “Jellyroll” because of his fondness for jazz.
After Cornell College he married Patricia Jean Koch, and the couple moved to Ithaca, New York, where Morton earned a master’s degree in hotel management from Cornell University’s School of Hotel Administration. He soon switched careers from hospitality to higher education and worked at a number of different colleges, including at Cornell from 1959-1965. In 1967 he became the executive secretary of the Iowa State University Foundation, and he spent nearly 20 years raising money for ISU. He was instrumental in the construction of the Iowa State Center, Jack Trice Stadium, the Parks Library Addition, and the Durham Center for Computation and Communication, among other projects. He retired in 1986 as director of development.
Morton was widowed in 1995 and in 1996 married Joy Litts Gaarde. The couple split their time between Iowa and Arizona until 2011, when Morton moved to Iowa full-time.
He is survived by his second wife Joy Gaarde-Morton, honorary alumna, children Marian Kuper, Andrew, Laura, Joel ’80, Carol Neuhoff, and Marc ’83, and five grandchildren.