James Markus Morgan Jr.
1923 - 2021
James Markus Morgan Jr.

January 2, 2021

James Markus Morgan Jr., of Lexington, Virginia, died peacefully on Saturday, January 2, 2021 at the age of 97.

Jim was born in Richmond, Virginia, on August 11, 1923. He was preceded in death by his parents, James M. Morgan and Eleanora Veronica O'Hara Morgan; his wife, Jean Aldhizer Morgan; and his daughter-in-law, Mary Beth Kastelberg Morgan.

He is survived by his daughter, Mary James Fulton (William); sons, James Stuart Morgan (Barbara Zavanelli-Morgan) and James M. Morgan III; and grandsons, James M. Morgan IV and William Lyons Morgan.

Jim graduated from Benedictine High School in 1941. Matriculating with the Class of 1945 at Virginia Military Institute (VMI) in September 1941, he subsequently volunteered for Army active duty following Pearl Harbor. At the end of World War II, he received an appointment to West Point but was given a medical discharge following a training accident. He returned to VMI and graduated with a B.S. in Civil Engineering in 1946. Joining the Civil Engineering faculty immediately following graduation, he taught for 19 years as an Instructor, Professor and Department Head, and served another 19 years as Dean of the Faculty before retiring in 1984. He also earned an M.S. in Sanitary Engineering in 1948 and a Ph.D. in Water Resources Engineering in 1959, both from Johns Hopkins University. Upon retirement from VMI, he became a partner in two environmental engineering consulting firms and remained active in the profession until 1999. In 2007, VMI honored him by dedicating Morgan Hall as a learning laboratory for civil and environmental engineering. Jim served for 35 years in both active and reserve duty in the United States Army. He was assigned to, or consulted at, more than 40 Army installations in the United States and overseas. A gifted speaker, he also authored numerous publications and books covering engineering and history.

A long-standing member and historian of the St. Patrick Catholic Parish in Lexington, he also supported the community in roles with the VMI Foundation Board of Trustees, the Stonewall Jackson Hospital Board of Directors, and as a board member of multiple local banks. He was appointed a member of the Virginia State Board of Health by two governors and was the first engineer to serve as its Chairman.

A lifelong resident of Lexington, his was a record of devotion and service to his family, VMI and the community. He will be remembered as a loving husband and father, scholar, officer and a gentleman with a remarkable memory and sense of humor.

The family would like to express our deepest gratitude to the staff, doctors and nurses at the Benjamin Borden Health Center and Webster Assisted Living Center of Kendal at Lexington for their exceptional support and compassionate care.

A Mass of Christian Burial will be held at St. Patrick Catholic Church at a future date followed by a private interment. In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be made in Jim's name to Benedictine College Preparatory, 12829 River Road, Richmond, VA 23238; the Gen. J. H. Binford Peay III '62 Endowment for Academic Excellence, c/o VMI Foundation, Inc., 304 Letcher Avenue, Lexington, VA 24450; or to a charitable organization of your choice.
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Published by Roanoke Times from Jan. 10 to Jan. 11, 2021.
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10 Entries
A singular influence on my own engineering career from the time of my cadetship (1951-1955) and in following years whenever we visited. He will certainly be missed, but never forgotten for those of us who knew him
Edwin B. Lawless, III '55
January 18, 2021
General Morgan was the model of a true leader in the finest traditions of the Institute. A distinguished educator, he improved the curriculum, inspired the faculty, and mentored the students. His vision of education excellence was foundational to VMI's rise in recognition and ranking. His perception of human potential opened avenues of higher education and career opportunity for hundreds of undergraduates. That legacy will continue; that model will persist. Fortunate beneficiaries will long remember his gifts.
Joseph R. Brenner
January 18, 2021
I am related through the Aldhizer side of the family. I had the pleasure of meeting Jim and receiving his wonderful history on the family. He was from the greatest generation. I have thought of him often since that meeting. Our thoughts are with you.
Alice Ann Blevins
January 14, 2021
And I meant to add one more topic that Genera Morgan cared about: his family.
Thomas Webster Davis
January 14, 2021
General Morgan was (is) an inspiration. He cared. He cared about VMI, he cared about cadets, he cared about the faculty, he cared about his community--and beyond, and he cared about values and principles. He made a difference. He will be well remembered.
Thomas Webster Davis
January 13, 2021
A great man, he was a wonderful influence on me during my time struggling to graduate from VMI with a BS in Civil Engineering. My sincere sympathy to the family.
Donald Barrett
January 10, 2021
Jim Morgan was one of the finest gentlemen we have ever had the pleasure to know and spend time with.
Robert and Carole Green
January 10, 2021
Sorry to hear about the passing of Gen Morgan. He was in every way a gentleman. Many years ago we served together on parish council and he was always the calming voice.
Jim Green
January 9, 2021
Elizabeth Maguire
January 9, 2021
General Morgan was one of my favorite colleagues on the faculty at VMI, and he was a true friend when I was a cadet. His kind is very rare and will be missed. RIP
John McClellan Marshall '65
January 9, 2021