Tribute by Dilworth Strasser
We are saddened by the passing of a great ambassador who introduced hundreds of people to the sup over the past 20 years. John H. Morgan Jr. was a member of the salt lake chapter. John’s pioneer ancestors were a lot of his reason to give back through education. John’s grandfather started the first college in Salt Lake City to educate our pioneer ancestors in the mid-1800s. More than 20 years ago, John became a scholarship chairman for the Salt Lake chapter of SUP giving out 2 scholarships – which became 4 the next year and adding more and more each year. Over those 20 remaining years, he gave out 2,727 scholarships and visited high schools throughout Davis and Salt Lake county.
The scholarship started out at $500 and eventually increased to $1500 for each student. He visited each school and personally interviewed each student. On the application, the student needed to write a paragraph on the 8 pioneer values: my faith in God, my devotion to family, my loyalty to church and country, my hard work, my service to others, my courage, my personal integrity, my determination to succeed, my adversity that I have overcome. He encouraged the scholarship counselor at each school to choose students in need. Many of the students would be the first member of their family who had a chance to go to college. John loved SUP, his ancestors, and giving out scholarships to kids who could further their education. What a wonderful example he set for us and our chapters
In 1979, he built the St. George Hilton Inn—the first hotel in the city—which his first wife Daisy managed for 14 years.
In trying to figure out how to attract more visitors and ensure the hotel’s success, he realized that St. George residents were interested in sports and the city attracted retired people, and the idea of a senior sporting event was born. He and Daisy, along with friends Royce and Jill Jones and Sylvia Wunderli, used the Baton Rouge-based National Senior Games Association as a model for the St. George games. With a goal of encouraging good health and physical fitness for seniors, the games, originally called the World Senior Olympics, were first held in 1987 as part of a community development plan for St. George. In 1989, Utah philanthropist Jon M. Huntsman, Sr., became the principal sponsor, and the name was changed to the huntsman world senior games.
The event has become the second-largest senior games in the world, behind the National Senior Olympics, and gives 10,000 men and women ages 55 and older the opportunity to compete in 27 athletic events over a two-week period. Serious athletes from Japan to Russia and from Alaska to Australia come to participate. John himself competed in the tennis event for more than 25 years. In 2013 he won two silver medals and one bronze just missed winning a gold. He also received the Personal Best Award from the National Senior Games Association.1Recommend0 recommendationsPublished in