Richard Morgan, fondly known as “Wally” or “Papa” by his family and friends, died unexpectedly at home on the morning of April 9, 2023. He was 89 years old.
Although he was feeling his age and not active outside his home in recent years, you never heard him complain. He was always the strong, silent type. When asked how he was feeling, he would say “What do you think? “I’m old.”
One of his favorite t-shirts was “I’m a freakin ray of sunshine” which gave him his third nickname, “Ray.”
With a cocktail each evening and his favorite peach skoal he could be found in his recliner watching Fox news, westerns, movies, and sports.
He was equal parts crusty, demanding, giving, and loving with his family.
There was no opportunity to say goodbye, but he knew he was loved.
Richard was born on February 6, 1934 in Oakdale, CA.
He grew up in and around the Turlock area, attending Turlock schools.
His parents divorced when he was very young and he spent a brief period in foster care which affected him both negatively and positively as he was determined to grow a family built on healthy, loving relationships. Fortunately, this seemed obtainable with his choice of a life partner, Beverly Hughes, who he met at Turlock High School.
Richard enlisted in the Navy right out of high school. He served 4 years in the Navy and 4 years in the Air Force.
In 1956, he married Beverly. During this time, Beverly gave birth to their three children in Turlock and then would go back to wherever Richard was stationed at the time.
In November 1963, he was honorably discharged at the expiration of his active service and they eventually settled back in Turlock.
Richard worked for the government as an electrician and procurement supervisor at Castle Air Force Base in Merced and Rough and Ready – Port of Stockton until retirement at the age of 55.
An avid reader, Richard instilled the value of education in his children, with Beverly’s support, he spent several years in night school to earn a Master’s degree in public administration at Golden Gate University in 1976.
His children all attended college, it was a family expectation after high school.
In retirement, he also worked as a middle school substitute teacher and basketball coach, enjoyed running, camping, traveling with a motor home club, senior league softball, coaching softball, and golfing.
For many years, you could find him patrolling the roads of Merced County as a Hilmar Community Law Enforcement Organization Volunteer in a community sheriff’s car or playing golf at the Turlock Golf & Country Club.
He was honored by the Merced County Board of Supervisors in recognition for being selected by the Merced County Sheriff’s Department as the 2002 volunteer patrolman of the year for Hilmar.
Richard was a lifelong fan of Oakland sports teams, the Raiders and the A’s. Over the years, he was a member of several service groups including the Shriners, Masons, American Legion, and Elks Club.
Richard was preceded in death by his parents, Ottis Morgan and Vada Jolliff, stepbrother Gary Ellis, and daughter-in-law Cindy Morgan.
Along with his wife of 66 years, Beverly, he is survived by his children Scot Morgan, Lori (Cheryl Peterson) Morgan, Susan (Steve) Whittemore; his grandchildren and great grandchildren Andy (Alicia) Morgan and son Wes, Adam (Michelle) Morgan, Kyle (Jenee) Thomas and children Sofia and Kali, Morgan (Cole) Patterson and daughter Manning; his sister, Glenda Wright, and Portuguese daughters, Ana Machado and Filomena Sousa.
In lieu of flowers, donations can be made in Richard’s honor to the Dorothy Guy Memorial Scholarship Fund at Turlock High School, Jessica’s House, Shriners Children’s Northern California, or your favorite charity.
Please join the family on Sunday, May 28, 2023 from 3 pm to 6 pm for a celebration of life reception at the Turlock Golf & Country Club. Per his wishes, Richard’s cremated remains will be buried at the San Joaquin Valley National Cemetery in Santa Nella.