Looking back: Dr. Morgan passes on

Published 10:17 am Friday, June 27, 2014

EDITOR’S NOTE: Looking Back features past articles from The Tidewater News with commentary by local historian Clyde Parker. 

June 27, 1964

Dr. Thomas A. Morgan, 52, died Thursday at Medical College of Virginia Hospital in Richmond. He was the husband of Margaret Ellis Morgan and a son of the late Dr. Lucius Daniel and Mrs. Janie Moorman Morgan of Gladys.

Surviving are his wife, and two sons, Thomas (Tommy) A. Morgan, Jr. and Leslie Daniel (Danny) Morgan, and a daughter Margaret Ellis Morgan, all of Franklin. Also surviving are: sisters Mrs. Norvin Maloney, Wilmington, Del.; Mrs. James Wooding, San Diego, Calif.; and Mrs. Daniel Peak, Franklin, Va. And, he is survived by his stepmother, Mrs. Willie Moorman Morgan of Gladys, Va.

He was a graduate of Randolph-Macon College and the Medical College of Virginia. In 1936, after graduation from the Medical College, he joined the staff of Raiford Memorial Hospital. He was associated directly with Dr. R. L. Raiford.

To many, Dr. Morgan was known as “Mr. Hospital”; although, primarily, he was the hospital radiologist.

He was the medical examiner and coroner for Southampton County.

Dr. Morgan became known nationally for his work and use of radiology, and medicine in general, in solving crimes. He was acclaimed in several national and foreign medical journals for his work in the legal aspects of medicine. As coroner, he became interested in crime detection by x-rays and helped solve a number of crimes through this means. During his career, Dr. Morgan spoke nationally at various medical symposiums.

Dr. Morgan was a member of many professional organizations: American Medical Association, Southern Medical Association, Radiological Society of North America, Virginia Radiological Society, Tidewater Radiological Society, honorary member of the Virginia Society of X-ray Technicians, and the Medical Society of Virginia.

He was a member of Franklin Baptist Church, Franklin Rotary Club, Hunterdale Ruritan Club, Tidewater Beagle Club, and Association of Surgeons-Seaboard Airline Railway.

Dr. Morgan was an U. S. Army veteran of World War II. He served for five years in the Medical Corps; a good part of this time was spent in the China-Burma-India Theater. He attained the rank of Lt. Colonel.

Dr. Morgan was responsible for the first American Red Cross blood-bank program in Southampton County and served as its first chairman.

A funeral was held last Sunday at Franklin Baptist Church, conducted by the Reverend Ira Hudgins. Burial was in Poplar Springs Cemetery. Pallbearers were Dr. Kurt Hirsch, Dr. Henry Gardner, John Wright, Marion Whitfield, Tall Jones, George Pillow, Herbert Edwards and Robert Vaughan.


The Franklin Rotary Club met last Friday. Rotary President Dan Peak, CPA, led the meeting and introduced Dr. Edward Brickell, Superintendent of Franklin City Schools. Brickell was asked to review operations of the school system over the past year. The independent Franklin School System is new and so is the superintendent.

In pointing out some of the school system activities, Brickell elaborated on the departmentalization of the fifth and sixth grades and the attention presently being given to the reading program in the elementary grades.

He indicated that additional stress would probably be placed on teaching phonics.

In response to a question from the audience, expansion of high school curriculum was discussed. “A social studies program, with far-reaching implications, has been instituted at Franklin High School,” Brickell said.

“New courses focusing on American Democracy have been introduced at all levels. And, an eighth grade civics study program has been instituted. This provides for an increased awareness of and an appreciation for the free enterprise system and the American way of life. Not only will we study National governmental function but we will also focus on State and Local governments,” he added.

Brickell spoke of other changes in the curriculum at Franklin High School. “We have added a revised and up-dated 12th grade math course, a business law course, and a unit in mechanical drawing,” he said.

In speaking of Franklin teachers, Brickell commented that the great majority were dedicated, highly competent, and conscientious.

“But,” he added “they are overworked, for the most part, and are underpaid by the standards of today’s economy.”

A highlight of the year was the Science Fair held at Franklin High School.

Adult education has attracted the interest of the Franklin School Board. Facilities have been provided for private tutoring in typing. A practical nurses course has been instituted. And, adults are being helped in their efforts to complete requirements for a high school equivalency certificate.

Courses in management training and customer relations have been sponsored by the School Board in conjunction with various community businesses and various other organizations.

Brickell touched on the high school band and athletics. “These and other extra-curricular activities definitely have a place in a public school system,” he said.

CLYDE PARKER is a retired human resources manager for the former Franklin Equipment Co. and a member of the Southampton County Historical Society. His email address is cpjeep99@yahoo.com