Funeral services for Starkey Allen Morgan, Sr., 78, of Ridgeland, will be at 2:00 p.m., Sunday, May 21 at First United Methodist Church. He went to be with our Lord on Friday, May 19th, 2017. He passed peacefully at home, surrounded by his wife and children. Burial will follow at the Greenville Cemetery. Arrangements are under the direction of Boone Funeral Home, Greenville.
Dr. Morgan was born in Boyle, Mississippi on June 22, 1938 to Nannie Hamer Morgan and Starkey Collins Morgan. He grew up in Greenville with his four siblings: William Earl, Joe, Quimby, and Nan Morgan Rushing. Nannie was a nurse at Kings Daughters Hospital who raised the five children by herself and with the support of the community of Greenville after her husband’s death. Starkey met Martha Rowe, his future wife, in the seventh grade while attending E.E.Bass Jr. High School. They attended Greenville HIgh School where he was an outstanding athlete. After attending Mississippi State University, he became a teacher and coach in his home town of Greenville. He and Martha married in 1962 and began their blessed lives together. Many people were taught to swim by Coach Morgan including his children and grandchildren.
In 1966, they moved to Starkville. While earning his Masters Degree in Education from MSU, he was a principal and coach. It was during the integration process in Mississippi. In order to ease into what was going to be a difficult situation, principals were asked to volunteer to go to black or white schools. Dr. Morgan believed in an equal education for all people and was the first white principal in the state of Mississippi to volunteer to go to a black school. There were some who ostracized the family over the years for the courageous choices that Dr. Morgan and Martha made.
As he moved to other towns in Mississippi, furthering his education and career, he always fought for the underdog, whether it was making sure that everyone, including the maintenance workers at a local community college, had health care or fighting for African Americans and women to be given the same opportunities as white men. He was also a force of nature all over Mississippi as one who furthered educational opportunities for all people including vocational educational opportunities. Working with the Mississippi Episcopal Diocese, he helped to establish the Okolona Vocational and Technical Center. There were many others.
A few of the accomplishments he was proud of: Circle of Excellence Award, University of Mississippi, 1998; Head of the Tombigbee Waterway Development Association working with eight counties in Northeast Mississippi to help develop the Tombigbee Waterway; Vice-President of Itawamba Community College; Superintendent of Okolona Public Schools; President of the Mississippi Association of Community College Presidents; and an Earned Doctorate of Education at the University of Mississippi. In 1996, the Mississippi Legislature commended Dr. Morgan for being selected by the Mississippi Economic Development Foundation as the Volunteer of the Year.
However, the center of Dr. Morgan’s life was God and family. He was a loving husband to his wife of almost 55 years, Martha Rowe Morgan. He often repeated the stories of their middle school romance, and that romance never ended. He was also a dedicated son and brother to his mother and siblings and would drop everything to help them. To his children, Lorraine Morgan Cotten (Chris Cotten) , Starkey Allen Morgan, Jr., and Walter Rowe Morgan (Loretta Morgan), he was a hero and provided the kind of love that embodied Christ. He leaves an incredible legacy for his grandchildren whom he adored: James Cotten, Lore Morgan, Katy Cotten, and Piper Morgan. The family asks that in lieu of flowers, contributions be made to either the Shriner’s Hospital for Children or the Down Syndrome Association of the Midsouth.
Visitation will be held one hour prior to services at the church.