Cover photo for Herbert Norris Morgan's Obituary
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1929 Herbert 2023

Herbert Norris Morgan

September 10, 1929 — April 11, 2023

Herbert (Herb) Norris Morgan, 93, of Arlington, VA, passed away peacefully at his home the night of Tuesday, April 11, 2023.
Herb was born on Tuesday, September 10, 1929, in Jackson, Madison County, TN as the youngest of seven brothers and sisters born to Homer Morgan and Vera Pearl (Piercey) Morgan originally from Gibson and Milan, TN. He graduated from Jackson High School in 1947 and married his high school sweetheart Joyce Marie Wallace on November 7, 1948.

Herb played football while in high school, managed the basketball team, and was a Golden Gloves Champion boxer before later turning professional (known as Norris “Slugger” Morgan or “The Fightin’ Cop”) for a time. For a period (during and after high school) he bought and operated a Texaco Filling Station. One time Gene Autry came through on his way to California! Herb said, “Sir I believe you resemble Gene Autry”. Gene said, “Yeah, I’ve been told that a time or two.” After Herb badly bumped his head one day while underneath the hood of a car he was servicing, he decided to hang up that business.

Mr. Morgan joined The Jackson Police Department as a Patrolman in 1948 (JPD was one of his fondest memories). In 1952 he left the police department on armed forces leave and enlisted in the Air Force, becoming an Air Policeman (AP) and eventually an Office of Special Investigations (OSI) Special Agent. As an OSI Special Agent, the Air Force sent Herb to TX, AZ, and to both Furstenfeldbruck and Landsberg Airbases in Bavaria, Germany where his only son Mark would later be born on December 8, 1955. The Air Force then took him to the greater D.C. area (later settling in northern VA) where he started attending American University Washington College of Law (at the recommendation of a Colonel) at night and graduated in 1960.

While practicing law, he started working for and eventually bought a title company in 1972, then known as Real Title Corporation in Arlington, Va. He changed the title business as it was then known to make the process less cumbersome for the customer. In fact, the Virginia Bar Association (VBA) sued him for it, and the VBA lost! Mr. Morgan was also a board member and co-founder of several banks and savings and loans in northern Virginia. Many other business opportunities followed, including a country music publishing/production company in Nashville! The publishing company once owned the rights to Don McLean’s American Pie and some songs from the band Alabama, among others. He then semi-retired in 1989. Herb was a Renaissance Man who definitely lived and interesting life.

With a strong sense of duty and service in the local community, Mr. Morgan was President of the Arlington County Chamber of Commerce, served on the Salvation Army Board of Directors, was a supporter of Columbia Baptist Church, Arlington Hospital, and the Special Olympics, was a member of The Virginia House of Delegates in 1972 and 1973, and served on the Board of Trustees of American University and Virginia Commonwealth University to highlight a few. His most favorite personal hobby was aviation. For 67 years he piloted various personal aircraft, including a trip around the horn of South America and an around the world journey in his Cessna Citation!

Herb was a huge dog lover and had a playful sense of humor with a glint in his eye, balanced by aged wisdom and edged by the well-known quick Morgan temper. A temper that some know comes with a couple stories undoubtedly involving boxing flashbacks! He was a friend to so many and always helped those whom he could to succeed, and also was an aid to those who were struggling. His Virginia and Jackson, TN families were his first priority and the legacy he built for us (alongside his older brothers and sisters) is immeasurable. Most of all, he loved his family – his wife Joyce of 62 years, his son and daughter in law, grandkids, and his great grandkids.

Herb was always there with his dog (Muggs, and later Thunder) on leash, smoking a cigar at every football game and sporting event for his grandkids (Matthew and Andrew), and holidays were a joyful time at their house in Arlington. In his final years he enjoyed nothing more than simply being in the presence of his great grandkids! Just being in his presence and spending quality time was truly a precious gift.

As a Tennessee boy that lived his life far beyond his expectations through a series of (as he called them) fortuitous circumstances, he always believed in staying humble and helping people whenever and wherever he could. He said his Dad always taught him to put in 9 hours for an 8 hour day of work and he believed that family comes first. When you asked him how he was doing, he liked to say “I’m strugglin’ along for an old country boy”, or “I’m meaner than a junkyard dawg” with a laugh and a smile. He also liked to say “What do you say?”, “Hey Sweetie”, and “Hug my neck” with a grin and a warm embrace. He would say that a life without faith is not worth living, and that salvation comes by grace alone! His favorite bible verse was Deuteronomy 8:3—"…man doth not live by bread only, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of the LORD doth man live (KJV, also Matt 4:4).”

As his passing sadly concludes the chapter on his generation in our family, what a truly remarkable foundation he laid for us! We are humbled and grateful that he blessed our lives. Herb, AKA Dad and Opa will be profoundly missed, but his entry into Heaven must have been nothing short of a glorious homecoming with his Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ and his family who preceded him!

Herb was preceded in death by his wife Joyce of 62 years; his grandson, Andrew Barnett Morgan; his sisters, Elizabeth Morgan, Mary Ruth Sharer, Martha Lee McKay; and brothers, John B. Morgan, Howell Morgan, and Roy Brown Morgan. He is survived by his son, Mark (Nancy) W. Morgan of Centreville, VA; grandson Matthew (Meghan) L. Morgan of Madison, AL and his three great grandchildren Jackson 9, Mackenzie 7, and Sophia Joyce 4, and his much loved nephews, nieces, and cousins.

In lieu of flowers the family requests memorial contributions be made to St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital ( https://www.stjude.org/ ).

The family will receive friends Monday April 17 from 11am until 2pm at Murphy Funeral Home, 4510 Wilson Blvd., Arlington, Va. and in Jackson, Tn Saturday April 22 from 11am until 12 noon at Arrington Funeral Directors, 148 W. University Parkway, 731-668-1111. Burial will follow at White Rose Cemetery, Gibson, Tn.

Below is a poem shared by family friends Ray (and Anne) Hrabec that we know Herb would appreciate.

Flying West
I hope there's a place, way up in the sky,
Where pilots can go, when they have to die.
A place where a guy can buy a cold beer
For a friend and a comrade, whose memory is dear;
A place where no doctor or lawyer can tread ,
Nor a management type would ere be caught dead;
Just a quaint little place, kind of dark, full of smoke,
Where they like to sing loud, and love a good joke;
The kind of a place where a lady could go
And feel safe and protected, by the men she would know.
There must be a place where old pilots go,
When their wings become heavy, when their airspeed gets low,
Where the whiskey is old, and the women are young,
And songs about flying and dying are sung,
Where you'd see all the fellows who'd ‘flown west’ before,
And they'd call out your name, as you came through the door.
Who would buy you a drink, if your thirst should be bad,
And relate to the others, "He was quite a good lad!"
And there, through the mist, you'd spot an old guy
You had not seen in years, though he taught you to fly.
He'd nod his old head, and grin ear to ear;
And say, "Welcome, my son, I'm pleased that you're here.
For this is the place where true flyers come,
When the battles are over, and the wars have been won.
They've come here at last, to be safe and alone
From the government clerks and the management clone,
Politicians and lawyers, the Feds and the noise,
Where all hours are happy, and these good ole boys
Can relax with a cool one, and a well deserved rest!
This is heaven, my son. You've passed your last test!"

----- Captain Michael J. Larkin TWA(Ret)
To order memorial trees or send flowers to the family in memory of Herbert Norris Morgan, please visit our flower store.

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