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Ralph William Morgan, 90

January 31, 2009

Ralph William Morgan, 90



-Jan, 28, 2009

Ralph William Morgan, an icon of the Frederick/Myersville/Middletown/Wolfsville area, departed for his heavenly home as he lived his life on earth, with grace and dignity, on Jan. 28, 2009, at age 90. He was at home, surrounded by his family. He is survived by his wife of 69 years, Charlotte Mae Bear Morgan.

He was the son of the late Ralph Emerson Morgan and Flora E. Brandenburg Morgan.

He was the elder of four, survived by his brother, Paul I. Morgan and his wife, Vera of Wolfsville; sister, Ruth R. Michael and her husband, Grayson of Wolfsville; and sister, Eva I. Wastler and her husband, Charles of Hagerstown. He is also survived by his daughters, Joyce Morgan Guyton and her husband, Gail of Ijamsville and Gloria Morgan Moore of Middletown. He will be remembered forever by his grandchildren, Bradley C. Guyton and his wife, Lisa of Severna Park, Sharon G. Strine and her husband, Rusty of Wolfsville, Darrell T. Guyton and his wife, Kris of Johnsville, Bryan J. Moore Jr. of Myersville, Jason W. Moore and his wife, Betsy of Middletown; great-grandchildren, Colin T. Strine of Yokkaichi, Japan; Megan E. Strine and Austin G. Strine of Wolfsville; Matthew T. Guyton, Mark A. Guyton, and Sarah C. Guyton, all of Johnsville; Christian A. Mielke of Severna Park and Emory W. Moore of Middletown.

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He was pre-deceased by his son-in-law, Bryan J. Moore Sr.

Ralph attended Sensenbaugh Primary School in Wolfsville and Middletown High School. He loved to reminisce about riding to school in an open sleigh in the winter and having to thaw out his ears while sitting by the stove before he could attend class. He was instrumental in organizing the annual Middletown Class of '35 reunions. In June of 2008, five of the remaining seven class members took part.

Construction and lumber had been in the Morgan family blood since the early 1800s, when Ralph Morgan's great-great-grandfather emigrated from Switzerland and settled in the Myersville area, establishing a grist mill. This eventually became a wood manufacturing plant, the Morgan Mill. The business passed into the hands of Morgan's grandfather, Irving Morgan and eventually to Irving's surviving children. Ralph left the family business to work on construction of what is now Reagan National Airport, but the mill and the family called him back to Wolfsville. He returned home to work at the mill and set up a furniture shop at his house. By 1955, Morgan had bigger aspirations and co-founded Morgan-Keller Inc. with his brother-in-law, Laurence Keller. The firm first built homes in the Frederick and Hagerstown area, but eventually expanded into the church construction market, building Garfield United Methodist Church and Middletown United Methodist Church. They began with a very simple business proposition -- providing customers with successful projects of lasting value. The firm also constructed the Chesterbrook Apartments in Middletown.

In 2008, the Middletown Planning Commission approved naming a new street in Chesterbrook, designated as Ralph Morgan Terrace. It was known that he always honored his commitments. His word and his handshake were as strong as a signed contract. He retired from the helm of Morgan-Keller in 1981; his grandsons now operate the business, which has continued to provide excellence to its customers.

He was active in many local civic and community associations and organizations, serving as a board member of the Wolfsville Ruritan Club, the Frederick County Builders Association, the Associated Builders and Contractors of Maryland, Frederick Gas Company, and Farmers and Mechanics Bank. He was the recipient of the highest honor bestowed by the Rotary Club, the Paul Harris Fellow. He was also one of the original founders of the Wolfsville Volunteer Fire Department.

He was one of the original charter members of the Wolfsville Ruritan Club. He devoted many hours in the design and construction of the Ruritan's facilities, which was built on the Morgan Mill property. He was active in the club, playing many roles in the organization and taking part in the events up until 2007, when his health interfered. He felt that his many years of service stemmed from his belief in its cause -- providing a place for children to play and raising money that is used in the Wolfsville community.

He was a faithful member of St. Mark's Lutheran Church in Wolfsville since birth, serving as a member and president of the council and as Sunday school superintendent and chairman of the Cemetery Board. He donated many hours in designing and constructing the Sunday school addition.

Pastor Dave Howell of St. Mark's likened Ralph Morgan to a steadying rudder that directs a ship on its course. "He had a fundamental sense of what is right and what is just. A person to be trusted."

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