Tribute to Robert David Morgan


A Tribute to Dad

Robert David Morgan

30th July 1928 ~ 13th January 2007

Thanks everyone for coming along today. Dad was always the centre of attention and the life and soul of the party. Making us laugh at an event which he had invariably organised. His energy, enthusiasm and sense of fun infected everyone who met him. He made us all feel special.

His not-so-quiet retirement of eighteen years (which is hard to imagine for my generation) was, of course, spent mowing the lawn and tending the roses but also spent setting up his own web-site, founding a publishing business, answering hundreds of e-mails daily, organising the Morgan Society, wine tasting parties and scrabble evenings, doing cooking and crosswords, singing karaoke and doing a hundred other things with family and friends. His appetite for life was huge.

My Dad grew up in the Isle of Man. He was devastated when father died when he was only eleven years old. Although he got the top scholarship to King Williams School the hardship of life without a father meant he curtailed his studies and went straight to work at 16. Since the family business of organ makers had folded, he joined the Westminster Bank. He was very proud of the famous Morgan Organs found in the Isle of Man churches.

In October 1956, his banking talents were recognised and, after flying to London for an interview, he got a job working for Sam Caldwell to sort out a rather sad Westminster Bank Branch in Digbeth. Sam became a life long friend, mentor and a relation. It was at an office party that Sam asked my Dad to look after his cousin Joyce. He was still looking after her almost fifty years later.

He married my mum in 1959. Within a year I was born followed three years later by my sister Deb. Their loving marriage provided a wonderful secure environment for us to grow up in.

At 39 years old he became the youngest Bank manger in the West Midlands and opened the Acocks Green Branch. He was a very successful manager. His charm and integrity attracted many loyal customers who often became his close friends. Many of the fledgling businesses he started with Bank capital grew into very large profitable companies. My Dad was always embracing new technology. He installed the first NatWest cash machine in a factory and paid the workforce directly into their new NatWest bank accounts. It was a triumph for his marketing and sales skills.

Where there is golf there is business. My dad spent a lot of time working on the golf course. He got a single figure handicap, won dozens of tournaments and even got the coveted hole-in-one. The framed score card still hangs proudly in lounge at home.

Everything was done with great passion and energy. He was not content with just being a good hockey player playing for Olton First team and Warwickshire. He started the Hockey Information Services. It was a sort of dating service for hockey teams without matches. He organised the Easter Motorway hockey festivals. These started in Aberystwyth in 1970 with seven teams and grew to become major sporting events with over seventy teams playing at Aston University. I was lucky enough to bring my Trinity college hockey team to the festival in 1981 and experience the pleasure of the event for myself.

In between managing the bank and running the family, my dad became a very successful sports journalist. Some of my earliest vivid memories are sitting in a live BBC radio studio watching my dad do a three minute round up of the weekend hockey news. He loved the excitement of live broadcasting and knew the pleasure it gave his mum who would be listening to him back in the Isle of Man.

Little did I realise, but I thought this was a completely normal thing that dads did each weekend. He also reported on rugby, swimming, cricket and snooker when it was first discovered by TV as pot black. He was a prolific writer. His article on "Hockey ­ 4000 years old" is a classic. In it he found evidence in Egyptian tombs at Beni Hasan for hockey playing 4000 years ago.

Retirement seemed to make him more active than ever.

Letters from "David Morgan, Dorridge" were regularly published in the Daily Telegraph, Daily Mail and even (the horror) The Guardian. His clear thinking and journalist skills allowed him to articulate the frustrations we all have at idiocy in high places.

His interest in the Morgan Family history became another passion. Not content with documenting the family tree, he founded the Morgan Society and was president for 10 years. He built a web-site and founded an internet based publishing company selling Morgan family history around the world. He loved research and I'm sure he proved the Morgans are direct descendants of King Macduff of Scotland (or it may have been Macbeth?). The annual meetings of the Morgan Society became big social events attracting distinguished speakers like Rhodri Morgan, Morgan sports car sponsorship, and they always made the local TV news.

My Dad was a wonderful, kind, thoughtful, talented man who attacked everything with passion. He loved his family especially his seven grandchildren: Will, Tom, Charles, Henry and my three daughters: Amelia, Charis and Rebecca. They all loved him dearly.

We should all feel proud to have known him and been part of his life. The last words belong to his grandchildren. Tom said, "Granddad was a great big cuddly teddy bear" and Amelia said, "There will be no more granddad jokes".


Neil Morgan, 22 January 2007, Dorridge, England


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