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Mel Morgan

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Mel Morgan
BOISE - Mel Morgan passed away on June 9, 2009, in Boise, Idaho, at the age of 91. He died peacefully in his sleep with his loving wife, Jan, and his son, Rick, at his side.
Mel was born on June 5, 1918, in Pocatello, Idaho. He was the oldest son of Nate and Etta Morgan. Nate Morgan started Nate Morgan Jewelers in Pocatello in 1914. Mel had two younger brothers, E.D. "Bud" and Ted. After graduating from Pocatello High School, Mel attended the University of Idaho, Southern Branch (ISU) and the University of Southern California. Upon returning to Pocatello he joined the family business with his father and two brothers.
It was no small coincidence that Mel met and fell for the daughter of a rival jeweler from Idaho Falls, Janice Rudman. He fondly recalled driving his roadster to Idaho Falls to court Jan, all the while dodging hay wagons near Fort Hall without any lights on them.
On December 7, 1941, upon learning of the bombing of Pearl Harbor, Mel enlisted in the U.S. Army. He wanted to marry his fiancée, Jan, before going off to war, so they were married that evening at his parent's home. A year later they had their first child, a daughter, Linda. She was the love of Mel's life and he was ecstatic to be a father. After the war ended, the family reunited in Pocatello. A few years later, Mel and Jan welcomed a son, Rick.
Mel ran the family business and he always had a knack for the sale, whether it was behind the diamond counter or shooting the breeze at the Bannock Hotel. Mel was a brilliant fundraiser for the causes he championed. He served on various boards including the Idaho State Personnel Commission (original board member), ISU Alumni Association (president), ISU Century Club (co-founder and president), Idaho Division of Vocational Rehabilitation (board member), New Day Products (president), a sheltered workshop for the mentally handicapped, chairman of the Job Training Partnership Committee, president of the Intermountain Ski Association, and board member of the U.S. Ski Association.
He was the recipient of the ISU College of Business National Business Fraternity, Alpha Kappa Psi, Businessman of the Year Award. He was elected to the Pocatello City Council. He was the state chairman of the Idaho Democratic Party. He was selected as only the second recipient of the ISU Sports Hall of Fame's Lifetime Achievement Award.
Mel was intricately involved in the election campaigns of Perry Swisher, Frank Church, Bud Davis, John Evans, Larry LaRocco, Richard Stallings and Cecil Andrus. Mel's involvement in politics required a moved to Boise in 1988.
Some of Mel's fondest memories in Boise were made at Moon's with the morning "coffee klatch," as they were affectionately known, debating everything from politics and religion, to where one could find the best steak or burger in town. It pained Mel greatly that he was no longer able to trade barbs with the crew from Moon's in his later years, so often the group would come to his home to visit.
Mel's true passion in life besides his family was skiing. He didn't take up the sport until he was in his 40s, but he quickly became a recognizable fixture on the slopes as the round man skiing with the pipe in his mouth.
The twilight of Mel's life was spent happily with his wife of 67 years, and enjoying his children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren.
Mel will be remembered for his patented sense of humor and charm, as well as his quick wit. He could light up a room full of union workers, Washington, D.C., dignitaries, or a group of grandkids with their friends at the dinner table. He had a way with people of all kinds. He was infamous for his biting tongue; however, he always wielded it like a velvet hammer.
Mel is survived by his wife, Jan; his daughter, Linda Hovee, son-in-law, Robert, Newport Beach, California; his son, Rick, daughter-in-law, Lisa, Boise; his brother, Ted Morgan, Layton, Utah; granddaughters, Stacey Hovee Hammond (Jeff) and Melinda Hovee-Harlan (Jeff), Newport Beach, California; grandson, Jason Morgan (Sahar), Beverly Hills, California; granddaughter, Jordan Morgan and grandson, James Morgan, Boise. Mel had five great-grandchildren at the time of his death, all living in California.
Mel's family would like to thank the staff of Brookdale (Alterra) Senior Living on Park Center and the caring, compassionate staff at the Cottages on Roe. Special thanks is owed to Vickie, Victoria and Treasure Valley Hospice.
Mel's life will be remembered exactly as he wished with a life celebration in his memory at his son Rick's home, 2269 N. Pleasant Hill Way in Boise, Idaho, on June 24, 2009, between the hours of 4 p.m. and 7 p.m. Friends are welcome to drop by for food, drink or simply to remember or share a memory or story about Mel.
Mel's family will commemorate his life with a private ceremony in Sun Valley, planting a tree and erecting a plaque in his honor where his ashes will be spread. He will be remembered and missed daily by all those whose lives he touched. Contributions in Mel's memory can be made to the .
Published in Idaho State Journal on June 15, 2009
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