Thursday, October 28, 2010

Lofton Carl Morgan Jr.

We interrupt our current series of posts for a guest column by request.

Lofton Carl Morgan Jr.
October 29, 1921 - October 25, 2010

By Nurse Nan

If you read the obituaries yesterday, you may have noted the name "Lofton C. Morgan Jr." You may not have known him, but there was never a time in my life when I didn't. He grew up in Meridian, Mississippi, with his younger brother and his favorite cousin, once embarrassing his parents by asking why they didn't love him enough to include him in their wedding pictures.

Being a junior, he was quickly dubbed Sonny by his family, and later just Son. I never heard him say he didn't like his given names, but he usually referred to himself as "the Morg." As a very young man, his country called and he answered.

While stationed in Honolulu, he and another young man soon found they could make the hours of their long infirmary shifts pass more quickly by enticing the nurse to Jitterbug. Later he slept in two inches of water at Guadalcanal. He vowed, once home, never to sleep anywhere without a real bed and clean sheets and never once accepted an invitation to participate in a camping trip.

After the war, he completed his education and began work with TVA, finally settling in the Shoals area. Once in Florence, he met the love of his life, Mary Lena Fowler, whom he wooed for several years before she agreed to become his wife. To Lofton's great delight and Lena's great embarrassment, I'm told I once cried when I realized they didn't live together. At the age of two, I just assumed this wonderful couple who often graced our home were married. During their courtship, he once entrapped a local Peeping Tom who had dared terrorize Lena's neighborhood. He was a man with a plan.

On March 14, 1959, Lofton married Lena at the First Methodist Church in downtown Florence. She wore a blue ensemble and he his first Austin Reed suit. During the rehearsal, the pianist asked what to play for filler music, and the minister replied, "Hold That Tiger." Their marriage lasted over 51 years.

Lofton became a strong supporter of his adopted hometown, attending many Coffee High School football games and becoming a cornerstone in the choir at Wesley Chapel Methodist Church. After his retirement from TVA, he became a regular volunteer at the Help Center downtown. Each Wednesday he would toil at the very important task of measuring the waist of men's pants while sorting donated items. Perhaps some would have considered this chore too mundane for a man of his education, but he truly enjoyed serving those in need. His favorite days at the center involved helping young children, some who stated they had never had a real toy before.

Even as his health declined, he was often seen at ECM hospital visiting those who were seriously ill. He began to walk with a cane. The last time I saw him, he told me how much he loved me.

Lofton Carl Morgan was not blessed with children, but his memory will live on in those he helped and loved over the years. We should all leave such a legacy.