Joe Morgan Obit

Joe Morgan - UPI foreign editor -- UPI


Joe Morgan's Obit Veteran UPI Editor Morgan dead at 92 (Aug. 18, 2005)

Joe Warner Morgan, who rose from copy boy to foreign editor of United Press International during a 43-year career with the news service, has died at the age of 92.

Morgan died Friday at Hightstown, N.J., from complications of a stroke suffered three years ago. A private family service is planned, with burial in Sonoma, Calif.

Morgan spent his entire career with UPI and its predecessor, United Press, beginning in 1934 in Chicago. He worked in New York between 1948 and 1966, serving as day bureau manager, night news manager and foreign editor.

In 1966 he moved to San Francisco to supervise UPI's West Coast news operation, retiring in 1977. He lived in Sonoma, Calif., until 1998, when he moved to Hightstown.

"Joe was more than a great editor, he was a great teacher, and a lot of us learned a lot from him," said Lou Carr, former UPI assistant managing editor who ran the general desk news slot during his 47-year career with UPI. "He was also one of the best rewrite men in the business."

Jack Griffin, former UPI sports editor who also held a variety of news management positions in the company, remembered working periodically as a reporter for Morgan in New York.

"He was a very, very sharp newsman, very alert, very quick to move on breaking stories," Griffin said. "He had excellent, balanced news judgment. He was an outstanding man, and an outstanding editor."

Bruce Cook, now a UPI senior editor, was the inter-mountain editor and Salt Lake City bureau manager when Morgan was the division editor in San Francisco in the early 1970s.

"At first, working under Joe was scary," Cook said. "He had a sharp, biting wit. He had this razor-sharp way of talking, often with a twinkle in his eye. He demanded excellence. He was a great newsman from the old school. There was a constant emphasis on lean, mean, solid good writing. Short stories, just the facts."

Morgan was born in Lafayette, Ind., on July 7, 1912, the only child of Rosa Fluck and Lee Morgan. He graduated from Knox College in Galesburg, Ill., in 1934 and immediately got a job in Chicago as a copy boy for United Press. He worked his way up to financial writer, reporter, and copy editor in Milwaukee, Detroit, and Minneapolis, before moving to New York.

While in Detroit, Morgan interviewed pioneer automaker Henry Ford a number of times, events he fondly remembered years later as "equal to hitting a home run with bases loaded in the World Series or playing a piccolo solo in Carnegie Hall."

During his years at UPI, Morgan wrote two novels, "Expense Account" and "Amy Go Home."

Morgan married Knox alumna Jeanne Murray, of Evanston, Ill., in 1938. After her death in 1997, he moved to the Meadow Lakes Retirement Community in Hightstown, N.J., where he played croquet, and lent his editorial bent to the Meadowlark, the community newsletter, and assisted with patients in the Meadow Lake Health Center.

Until his stroke, Morgan continued to write manually typed "Dear Ones" letters filled with humor and insights of news and sporting events, mailing carbon copies to family members. With his grandsons he also shared the finesse of poker and the point-scoring strategies of Scrabble.

He is survived by a daughter, Ann Lee Morgan of Princeton, N.J., two sons, John Murray Morgan of Granby, Conn., and Patrick Thomas Morgan of Atlanta, four grandchildren and two step-grandchildren. -- UPI