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In Loving Memory of John Hanly Morgan (1918 - 2018)

Posted By Administration, Tuesday, September 11, 2018

The Rev. Dr. John Hanly Morgan died on June 23, 2018 at the age of 99.

John was born on November 28, 1918 in New Albany, IN to John Sidney and Vada Elizabeth (Dorn) Morgan. He graduated from Ball State Teachers College, Muncie, IN in 1943 with a Bachelor of Arts in Education, following which he earned his B.D from Harvard Divinity School, MA in 1946. He then worked as an instructor of Philosophy at Flint Michigan Community College from 1952 to 1956. In 1955, he received Master’s in Philosophy from University of Michigan. He also was Philosophy instructor for Indiana University South Bend Extension Center, from 1956 to 1959. In 1979, he graduated with Ph.D. in English Literature from University of South Florida.

Rev. Dr. Morgan was ordained on June 13, 1946 by Waverly Unitarian Church in Waverly, MA, where he served as a student pastor until 1947. From 1948 to 1951, he served Unitarian Church of Charlotte, NC as the full-time minister, and then, All Souls Unitarian Church in Indianapolis, IN as an Assistant to Senior Minister and Director of Religious Education, until 1952. Over the next two decades, Rev. Dr. Morgan carried out series of vital ministries at the following sites: the Unitarian Church of Flint, MI (1952-1956), and the Unitarian Church of South Bend, IN (1956-1959). Beginning January 1960, Rev. Dr. Morgan served as Minister at the First Unitarian Congregation of Toronto, ON, until his retirement in 1973. He was honored as Minister Emeritus on his retirement.

Rev. Dr. Morgan carried out a great deal of service on behalf of the denomination. He served as Secretary for South Middlesex Unitarian Conference, MA in 1945, and as Director for the USC Work Camp at Highlander, TN in 1949. He was President for the Thomas Jefferson Conference (1950-1951), and for the Michigan Area Liberal Churches from 1954 to 1955. He then served as Secretary for the Unitarian Ministers Association during 1956 to 1960. He became national Vice-President of the Unitarian Fellowship of Social Justice from 1958 to 1959. He also served as summer camp instructor for the North Carolina Universalist, MI Universalist, Lake Geneva Assembly of Western Unitarian Conference, and instructor for Lake Couchiching Conference of Ontario Unitarians.

John was actively involved in national and international peace movements. He was President of Canadian Peace Congress from 1972 to 1976 and travelled across Canada and overseas to attend meetings on the Nuclear Question. He joined other Unitarian Ministers with the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. on the historic march to Selma. He also became Vice-President of World Peace Council from 1983 to 1987 and made presentations at the United Nations. He was awarded International Lenin Peace Prize in 1983, and the Joliet-Curie Gold Medal of Peace by the World Peace Council in 1984. He had keen interest in studying literature, enjoyed vocal art and long walks. He published the book “Surfing the Tidal Wave” (1994) which reflects the history of his time at the Toronto church. The last of his ten published books was “Pursuing the Dove: Reminiscences of the Peace Struggle.” The book was published in 2001 and reflects a memoir of his time in the peace movement.

In her own tribute to his life, John’s wife, Jeannette, wrote: “We would have celebrated our 76th wedding anniversary on September 6, 2018”.

John is survived by his wife Jeannette; his children Lois Jean (Michael Hathaway) and David Hollis (Kathryn); his grandchildren Blue, Vada, Danial, Sara, Paul, Morgan, Kathryn, David, and Grant; and his six great grandchildren. He was predeceased by his siblings Paul Hollis and Hazel, and by his children Lee Bryant (Beverly) and Ann Louise (John Friday).

In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to the Jeannette and John Hanly Morgan Graduate Scholarship at Trent University, 1600 West Bank Drive, Peterborough, ON K9H 7B8, Canada; to the Unitarian Fellowship of Peterborough (address below); or to a charity of one’s own choosing.

A celebration of John’s life was held on Friday, June 29, 2018 at the Unitarian Fellowship of Peterborough, 775 Weller Street, Peterborough, ON K9J 4X4, Canada.

Notes of condolence may be shared online at

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