June 28, 1954 – April 20, 2022
John was born and raised in Riverside, California, the oldest of three, and son of the Honorable John B. Morgan (attorney/judge) and Gertrude Murdoch Morgan (elementary school teacher). While growing up in Riverside, he had a paper route, played flag football with the neighborhood kids, little league baseball and football at Poly High School, where he graduated in 1972. Thereafter, he attended the University of Southern California where he earned a bachelor’s degree in Marketing. While at USC, he enjoyed life in a fraternity and earned spending money working as an extra in the TV series Happy Days, among others, and movies that were being filmed in LA, one of which was Baby Blue Marine with Jan-Michael Vincent and Richard Gere.
After John’s graduation from USC, his dad happened to represent a Humboldt man in his divorce… John’s Dad asked this gentleman to tell him all about Eureka… it sounded like a magical place, full of beauty and wildlife, where the redwoods meet the sea. It seemed so far away from the concrete jungle of Southern California. John’s Dad was mesmerized by the vision, being an avid outdoors man himself – and, thus, the seed was planted in his mind to get up to Humboldt and check it out. His dream was to commercial fish with his sons.
Alas, in 1978, John relocated up to Eureka He met an old fisherman, Bill Kay, who lived on Indian Island and operated the Indian Island Boat Ways. Well, this old-timer took John under his wing, and told him he was ready to retire – and asked him “would you take over the boat ways business and live on the island?” Well… Yes! Life on the island was not easy. Off the grid – no hot running water; cooking/baking off a wood stove; and transport to and from town was by boat. When John wasn’t working on refurbishing commercial fishing boats, he enjoyed playing with his goat, Casey. Shortly thereafter, John’s younger brother, Dave, would join him. John would boat into the Old Boat Basin and meet up with commercial fishermen and friends at the Vista Del Mar, playing cribbage, dice and throwing darts.
It was around this time, that John’s dad played matchmaker and set John up on a blind date with a local Riverside girl, Brenda Multhauf, and after a long-distance-relationship, she ended up moving to Eureka, and joined John and Dave on the island. A real pioneer woman, she grew a beautiful vegetable garden; cooked/baked on the wood-burning stove; and even attended nursing school. They married in 1981 and continued to live on the island until Brenda became pregnant with their first child, Michael, and moved to a craftsman in the Henderson center area in 1984, where John would remain for the rest of his life.
Their second child, Travis, was born in 1985 and thereafter, John went back to school and obtained a teaching credential. He taught at Pacific Union Elementary and Zane Middle School. He also ran the on-campus school suspension program for Zane; chaperoned school dances and led several after school groups, one of which had their own Relay for Life team for years. He received the Apple Award for Excellence in 1998. He coached basketball and little league baseball, and frequently would announce baseball games at the Babe Ruth ball field – he had a great ‘radio voice.’ Many times, his sister would tell him “You missed your calling and should have gone into radio.”
However, John was also especially good at working with at-risk youth. So, it was a natural transition for him to move into probation and work for the rest of his career at juvenile hall.
In May 2019, John married his beloved Milagros Rosales and lived happily for the rest of his short life, traveling internationally, working on upgrades around the house and yard, and dancing salsa with his beautiful Peruvian wife.
John would routinely be seen routinely on his front porch, smoking self-rolled cigarettes, watching Giants baseball through the window, enjoying a cocktail, working crossword puzzles and waving at/or visiting with folks passing by.
John was preceded in death by his father, Honorable John B. Morgan, his mother, Gertrude Murdoch Morgan and brother, David B. Morgan. He is survived by his wife, Milagros Rosales; his sons, Michael and Travis (Evelyn) Morgan; his sister, Melanie Gosselin (Paul); his granddaughters, Kaitlyn and Lillian Morgan; his grandson, Aiden; his nephews, Steve (Whitney), Brad (Kathy) and Will (Brianne) Morgan; his nieces, Crystal (Jeff) Mayberry and Lynzi McIntyre Morgan; his Auntie Liz; and cousins Jan and Ted Ford of South Carolina, and John (Christina) Paxton of Roseville, CA; as well as, many grand nephews and nieces.
Our family is grateful to Dr. Chung and the hematology/oncology departments at UCSF for their stellar and compassionate care of John during the last month of his life. As well as, the unwavering care that his youngest son, an ICU nurse, provided him during the final months of his life. Our family’s combined heart is bursting with gratitude for Travis Morgan, as well as UCSF.
Youth sports was a huge part of John’s life for many, many years. If you’d like to donate to one of our local youth baseball programs in his memory, please feel free to do so.
A Celebration of Life will be held this Friday, April 29th, at the Eureka Woman’s Club, located at 1531 J Street in Eureka at 4 p.m.. Hope to see you there – bring your John stories!
The obituary above was submitted by John Morgan’s loved ones. The Lost Coast Outpost runs obituaries of Humboldt County residents at no charge. See guidelines here. Email firstname.lastname@example.org.