Diane Carol Morgan
1938 - 2021
Pink was her signature color. Bucket hats were her preference. Flamingos adorned her clothing, walls, shelves, so neighbors called her "The Flamingo Lady."
Diane Morgan, a woman whose inherent curiosity and keen observation skills made her an excellent general assignment reporter for "The Press Democrat", died unexpectedly in her Santa Rosa apartment on April 24, just days before she would have celebrated her 83rd birthday on May 6, 2021.
Known for her strength of character and her bubbly personality, Diane practiced "The Power of Positive Thinking." Her Can-Do attitude and ever-optimistic outlook helped her survive breast cancer, diabetes, high blood pressure, allergies and a number of other health challenges.
She loved Rock 'n Roll from the 1950s through the 1970s and collected numerous 78-RPM albums, CDs and DVDs of her favorite musicians. During the 1960s, she often enjoyed concerts at The Fillmore or Winterland in San Francisco and was thrilled to personally experience Janis Joplin with Big Brother and the Holding Company, Jefferson Airplane, the Steve Miller Band and others. At the Monterey Pops, she couldn't stop smiling at the stage featuring Jimi Hendrix, The Who, the Mamas and Papas, and other hit groups of the day. When overwhelmed by stress at home, she simply pumped up the volume on a Santana record or an Eric Clapton disc. When the news on television made her feel like her head might explode, she turned the channel to sports. Diane was an avid fan of the Warriors, the Giants and the Forty-Niners.
Born in Wenatchee, WA, Diane was the daughter of the late Alvin and Lucille Morgan. Through her mother, she inherited Polish bloodlines. Through her father, she traced her roots to a Native American tribe that was part of the great Ute Nation in the Utah Territory. She moved to Santa Rosa in 1940 with her mother and was rejoined by her father, a major in the U.S. Army, at the end of World War II. She was a 1956 graduate of Santa Rosa High School and editor of "The Oak Leaf" campus newspaper before graduation from Santa Rosa Junior College.
While still at SRJC, she was offered a position at "The Press Democrat" and became the first female "Copy Boy" in the newspaper's 100-year history. Soon, she was promoted to general assignment reporter and covered whatever came up in the community, including writing stories on entertainment, pop music and education. She also was the newspaper's representative in handling the annual Spelling Bee contest. Additionally, Diane wrote two daily columns during the Sonoma County Fair annual horse races: "Diane's Dandies" and "Diane's Long Shots."
Diane was a charter member of the now-defunct Press Club of Sonoma County. In 1976, after leaving "The Press Democrat", she joined the Committee to Elect Helen Rudee for Sonoma County Supervisor. She also volunteered for the Walk for Mankind event benefitting Project Concern, Inc.
After 18 years with "The Press Democrat", she decided to try something else. She took a housekeeping supervisor position at Presbyterian Hospital of Pacific Medical Center in San Francisco. Tiring of the commute, she then took a hotel housekeeping position at the now-defunct Sheraton Round Barn Inn, Santa Rosa, and then at the famous Fountain Bleu Hilton Hotel at Miami Beach, FL. Her favorite television show at the time was "Miami Vice," so after her move she was part of the crowd watching nighttime filming for the show.
Diane enjoyed travel and, in the 1960s, drove the length and breadth of California with her Press Democrat co-worker and friend Sheri Graves, visiting Disneyland and other such attractions, stopping off at Lone Pine, and whooping it up in casinos at Lake Tahoe where she was in the audience for live shows by Aretha Franklin, Ella Fitzgerald, Mahalia Jackson and Sammy Davis Jr. among others. With her sisters, she drove through Canada, took Caribbean cruises and visited Key West, FL.
In 2005, Diane was diagnosed with a rare and aggressive type of breast cancer. She survived the treatments and decided to return to Santa Rosa to be near her sisters and friends.
During her retirement in Sonoma County, she was an adored member of Senior Authors of Santa Rosa, a memoir writing group. She enjoyed making her own greeting cards and for many years regaled her friends with hysterical Christmas letters.
Diane was predeceased by her youngest sister, Jeanette Saxton. She is survived by her sister, Linda Harper, Santa Rosa, and cousins, Sylvia Bernauer, Kirkland, WA; Daniel Bernauer (Sheryl) and Henry Bernauer, Seattle, WA; and Scott Osborn (Laura), Sammamish, WA. Also surviving are childhood friends Nancy Miller, Vilonia, AK; Richard Benedetti (Christina), Manteca, and Marilyn Linnell, Petaluma.
Friends and family are invited to a Celebration of Life on June 27th in Santa Rosa; information by emailing [email protected]
Days later, Diane's ashes will be scattered on San Francisco Bay. Memorial donations may be made to any charity or specifically to the Sylvester Cancer Institute, University of Miami, by calling Rosemarie at (305) 243-4191, or accessing umiamihealth.org/donations
Published by Press Democrat on Jun. 20, 2021.