BIOGRAPHY OF JOHN HERBERT MORGAN (1909-2001)

Born  --  September 26, 1909 in Berlin, of a German mother and English father. 

During his life he was known variously as John, Jack or Budge, the last of these came from son David aged 5 listening to the Chancellor reading the Budget on the radio.

Early boyhood was spent in Lisbon, Portugal.  His father was a banker - ran the Anglo-Portuguese Bank.  Exciting times -- stories of hearing the gunshots of the revolution.  Learnt Portuguese.

Later boyhood  --  Lived in Fellows Road, Hampstead and attended Highgate School.  Did well at academics and sports (cricket, soccer) -- stories of slogging up Highgate Hill to school on his bicycle.

However, left school early as he wanted to go out into the world to earn a living -- also money had become tight at home. 

His parents had started taking lodgers from Holland, Germany, etc. -- many of whom become life-long friends.

This fact, his early boyhood in Portugal, and the fact that his father had lived and worked in Brazil (up the Amazon at Minaus) in the Gambia and of course Portugal, lead to his interest in travel and himself living overseas.

Adult life in London -- up to 1939  -- So went to work for a company with rubber plantations in the Far East -- likely he would have gone to Burma or Malaya but met Enid Coke-Smyth, his future wife and the big love of his life.  One could not go east with the trading houses if married.  By the time of Enidís death in 1979, they had known each other 50 years.  They married in 1936.  They used to refer to themselves, and some of their friends did too, as Janid.

He later went to work for a firm of Chartered Accountants and took up articles -- studying evenings.

His early adult life was filled with a wide range of interests and activities -- a feature in fact of his entire life.

He had joined Boys clubs as a teenager and a bible club, activities he kept up.  He regularly attended the Methodist City Temple and went to hear the famous preachers of the day.  His involvement with Toc H started during this period.

Other activities were dancing - the big swing bands, e.g. Hammersmith Palais, and tea dancing.

Holidays would find him/them cycling, camping or boating on the Norfolk Broads.

Also started his lifelong interest in the philosophy of Rudolf Steiner -- son David went to a Steiner School, Michael Hall.

The newly weds lived in Bloomsbury Marchmont Street near the British Museum.  They were very hard up but very happy.  Stories of climbing many stairs to the top flat -- views across the rooftops.

Enid worked as a fashion illustrator for womenís magazines such as Vogue and Harpers Bazaar.

Life in Surrey -- 1939-1959  --  In 1939 they moved to Ash Vale in Surrey.  Father took a job at the Hampshire Steam Laundry, Farnborough -- shortly after becoming Managing Director.  The business was mainly contract work for the Army and Air Force.

Because of ill health (but he lived to nearly 92) he was unable to join up for active service at the outbreak of WW II, so joined the Air Raid Patrol (ARP).

Stories of riding his large Matchless 1200cc sidecar motorbike in the blackouts.

Son Martin born in 1950.

He qualified as a Chartered Secretary.

Life in Surrey sees him as involved as ever in a multitude of activities -- Boy Scouts; Local Town Council; Church Council; School Governor.  He had many other interests -- Anthroposophical Society, Steiner, alternative medicines and health ideas, etc.

Life in South Africa -- 1959-2001  --  The Laundry was sold in 1958 and father was suddenly out of work.

Then the most momentous decision of their life.  They decided to go abroad.

This was eventually to emigrate to South Africa and in March 1959 set sail on the Pretoria Castle for Cape Town, with David going up to Cambridge University, only Martin accompanied them.

Life in South Africa was an unqualified success.

Lived in Cape Town, Grahamstown, before eventually settling in Johannesburg.

After a brief spell as Managing Director of another laundry business -- which was also sold from under him -- he went to run the educational body of the insurance industry in South Africa -- the South African Insurance Institute.

This he built up over the next 16 years -- he only retired from full time work at 75 but continued part time for many more years.  The Institute became a much larger vibrant organization and the parent institute in London honoured him on a number of occasions.

Once again he built up an impressive range of interests and activities -- many continued from England, many new.

Of the new, a deep interest in archaeology -- he became Treasurer of the SA Archaeology Society -- went on many field trips -- right into his 80ís.

He was also a member of the Johannesburg Historical Society.

Pottery and ceramic classes and once Enid started painting again, many artistic activities, as well as a book club.

On the political front, he worked for the Progressive Party at election times.

There were forays into gold prospecting - son David doing the actual mining on one of the claims.

Enid and he were avid travellers -- all over Southern Africa.  They loved remote and unspoiled places which they explored keenly.  The busy resorts were not their scene.

Enid died unexpectedly in 1979 -- which was a most terrible blow.  They were a very close and devoted couple and did virtually everything together.

But he had the will and courage to pick himself up and his many activities and spiritual life sustained him.

One noteworthy outcome was his sponsoring black students in the artistic world in memory of Enid.  One Peter Mtombeni has become a successful ceramicist.

He began to travel abroad regularly -- not only to see his sons in the UK and USA, but to Germany and other parts of Europe and also to the Far East.

Just this year he had set off (unwisely perhaps in retrospect) for a trip to Germany, Russia, England and America.  Last year he travelled alone from South Africa to the Dominican Republic to attend his grandson Oliverís wedding.

Of special importance to him throughout his life and especially during the last 20 was his involvement with the charity Toc H.

Right up until his death he was going into the Toc H office in Johannesburg almost daily -- and died as the organizationís active Treasurer.

(We welcome representatives of Toc H here today.)  We shall be singing from a hymn associated with the organization -- the last hymn and reading the St. Francis prayer also used by Toc H.  (Read the message from Toc H -- here perhaps.)

It was amazing good fortune that he should have been in England when his illness took hold so that his two sons and many of his grandchildren could all be with him when he died in hospital in Poole on Saturday, 18 August.

Character / Personality -- Some of the adjectives/descriptions of him as a person which readily come to mind are:

a keen sense of duty, or service to others.

propensity to make friends, gregarious.

genuine interest in the young, never patronizing, and an ability to keep up with change -- he seemed always a contemporary person.

a great joiner and an ability to administer and organize.

a wariness of ďismsĒ, with an interest in new sometimes less conventional thinking, but not a rebel or revolutionary, but neither did he always follow the mainstream.

although without a university education, very widely read and a huge fund of general knowledge, especially to do with anything geographical.  A talent for languages, speaking some French, German and Portuguese.

a deep desire to travel and see the world -- curious and enquiring.