Rev. Donald R. Morgan

9/23/2019

Donald Reid Morgan was born October 18, 1940 in Baton Rouge, LA.  He grew up on a small farm in Central attending Central School and Blackwater Methodist Church.  After graduating in 1958, he attended LSU that summer and transferred to SLI in the fall.  He married Bonnie Sue in 1960 and went on to graduate with a BS in Agriculture in 1962.  Graduate School at LSU ended abruptly when the ether extractor he was using to try to extract fat from chicken feed to produce low fat eggs, exploded, nearly killing him and wrecking the chemistry lab.  He dropped out of school and tried farming.  Through the years, he tried many different things, but nothing fine until Bob Lawton asked him to fill in for him one Sunday morning at First Methodist in Welsh.  Stepping into the pulpit, and feeling the awesome responsibility and privilege of being God’s spokesman just felt right.  He began working on his lay pastor license and started course of study at SMU.  When an uncle died suddenly, he decided he wanted to become an Elder sooner.  Choosing Emory School of Divinity, in 1976 the family (one child entering high school, one entering 6th grade, and a 3 year old) headed to Decatur, GA.  Sue found work at DeKalb General Hospital, while Don worked in the admissions office at Emory.  In 1979, Don graduated with honors and no student loans.

In 1980, Don accepted his first appointment to Lake Arthur UMC.  From there, he spent 2 years as associate at First UMC, Lake Charles.  There were numerous appointments over the next several years, including Fairview and Sweetlake, Ringgold, Buras and Point a la Hatch, Kilbourne and St. Joseph, Waterproof, and Wesley.  He went on his first work detail to Alaska from there, as they needed someone who could drive a bulldozer.  After three plus years, his throat began to bother him, and a specialist advised him to stop preaching for a time.  Hurricane Andrew had torn up South Louisiana and Sager Brown had been opened to receive volunteers from all over.  Since Don possessed so many of the skills needed there, he was sent to help Walter Parker match skills & abilities with jobs, and to procure building materials.  After a year of supervising work crews all over South Louisiana, he was sent to Dulac to help keep the Community Center open, as the IRS was coming to shut it down due to non-payment of FICA taxes by the previous director.  With the UMCOR director, Alice Rothrock and her husband, they were able to make a drug-free zone and an off-site campus for Nichols State.

Next, Don went to Palestine UMC in Ball, LA until his parents needed him closer to them in their failing health.  He transferred to Plaquemine.  In 1999, they died within days of each other and had a double funeral service.  In 2000, he had successful surgery for prostate cancer.  In 2001, he went to Lake Providence and retired from there in 2002.

Don served on the board over Wesley Foundation’s funding, helped with many church audits, and mentored some entering ministry.  He always tried to have short sermons with some humor.  He hid it well, but never got past having his knees shake in the pulpit.  Loving to make people laugh, one year at conference, the Bishop and the Cabinet were at odds and there was a lot of tension.  During the lunch break, Don went to a friend’s home and prepared a blown up Rolaid wrapper and a Pepto-Bismol label, glued them to a paper towel roll cardboard tube and a 2-liter bottle painted pink.  When the Bishop took his seat, looked down at his Cabinet and saw what they were holding, he laughed and the tension was broken.

In retirement, Don preached a little, started a Christmas tree farm, and took great joy in helping friends and neighbors.  He battled bladder cancer and degenerative arthritis in his spine, but refused to let either beat him.

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