Jean Grey Morgan (AKA G-Mom), 1910-2009

Jean Grey MorganMay 25, 1910 – November 28, 2009

Jean Grey Morgan, 99, was born in Davidson, NC, and moved at age eight to Hendersonville, NC, where, as the middle child of three, she started her life-long role as a central connecting person for her family.

She had a wide range of interests. As a young athlete, she played basketball, field hockey, and softball (as the catcher!) for her college, Agnes Scott College, and coached basketball during the year she taught high school science in Greenwood, SC. In college, she was President of her Senior Class and a member of Mortar Board, the honorary leadership sorority. She exercised her curiosity in the world around her—people, animals, trees, birds, flowers, all of life—by getting a Masters in Biology at Emory Medical School, where she participated in a study of Dementia Pugilistica (the dementia of boxers) and also worked as a teaching assistant.

She married her late husband, Alec C. Morgan, in 1934 and spent the remainder of her life caring for family members in a multitude of ways. Her love of learning was central to her own life and to what she transmitted to her family. An avid reader, she recommended books she thought others would enjoy. She played the organ and piano, with which she engaged in a state competition as a teenager. She passed this yen for music on to her children and grandchildren, all of whom have been musical performers, most as amateurs, but some as professionals.

She was a loving helpmate for her husband, who relied on her for everything from food and friendship to help with yard work. On one occasion, a visiting TV repairman, on seeing her on the roof cleaning the gutters, told her husband that “she’d be a handy thing to have on a fishing trip.” She was key to helping him in his work and in his play, often accompanying him to Tech football games, fishing trips, and other outdoor activities. In the 1960’s, at the request of the Principal of North Fulton High, she served two terms as PTA president because she could be relied upon to advocate for keeping the schools open in a time of turmoil. She also made sure her home on Stratford Road was a place her children’s friends could play and simply hang out, always having a full supply of frozen hamburgers ready to cook for a crowd. When her grandchildren visited, her home became their second home, with a special corner for toys and art supplies. She lovingly involved herself in the lives of her grandchildren while being respectful of her own children’s parenting.

In her later life, she remained active in being involved with others. When her church, First Presbyterian, started an afterschool program for Spring Street Elementary School, she took her sewing machine to the church and taught sewing. In 1986, she and her husband moved to Lenbrook Retirement Community, where she chaired the Library Committee, deciding on book purchases, and later the Food Committee, working to integrate residents’ food concerns with those of the dining services.

Jean Grey Morgan served as the “glue” for her family and friends. Her words and actions endeared her to all. Everyone who knew her, from grandchild to caregiver, was delighted by her droll and playful sense of humor. She occupied a loving and fulfilling place in the lives of her children and their spouses: Alec Morgan and Donna Morgan of Newton, MA, and Betty Morgan Sanders and the late Marthame Sanders, Jr. of Smyrna, GA; her grandchildren, Marthame Sanders, III, and Elizabeth Andrews Sanders of Chamblee, GA, Ian Morgan of London, England, Alecia Sanders Gray and Benjamin Gray of Lawrence, KS, and Elise Morgan and Lee Matsueda of Jamaica Plain, MA; and her great grandson, Ramsay Marthame Sanders. She left a legacy of love and care that will not be forgotten.

A service of witness to the resurrection will be held at First Presbyterian Church of Atlanta on Tuesday, December 1, 2009, at 2:00 pm, the Reverend Chris Moore-Keish officiating. A reception will follow. In lieu of flowers, memorial gifts may be made to the Community Ministry of First Presbyterian Church, 1328 Peachtree St., NE, Atlanta, GA 30319.