Morgan Sr., Dr. Leo Donald


November 24, 1924 – October 30, 2017

Dr. Leo Donald Morgan Sr., 92, of Winona, Minn., passed away on Monday, October 30, 2017, at Sugar Loaf Senior Living, Winona.

Leo was born on November 24, 1924, to John Leonard and Georgia Mae (Widman) Morgan in Pillager, Minn., where he grew up playing basketball and caddying golf with his good friends, the Madden boys. After graduating from Pillager High School, Leo moved to Vancouver, Wash., and met Vivian Gene (Hendren) Morgan at the Kaiser Shipyards, where both worked building World War II Liberty Ships.

Leo and Vivian were married on September 11, 1944, in Pillager, Minn. Leo enlisted in the U.S. Navy in 1945 where he served as Fireman Second Class on a Minesweeper in the South Pacific. He earned his Bachelor's Degree in 1952 at St. Cloud State University, Master of Arts Degree in 1957 at the University of Minnesota, and Doctor of Education Degree in 1966 at the University of Northern Colorado. During those years, Leo taught industrial education at Aitkin Public Schools and Hopkins Public Schools. Leo and Vivian moved to Winona in 1968, where Dr. Morgan was professor at Winona State University, elected department chair, and retired in 1986 as Professor Emeritus. He was proud to be a lifetime member of Phi Delta Kappa and the National Education Association. Leo was also a member of Homer United Methodist Church.

Leo was a wonderful husband, father, grandfather, and great-grandfather. He had a zeal for teaching and learning, and was compassionate, thoughtful, kind, and caring. Leo adored Vivian and they celebrated nearly 65 years of marriage, enjoying teaching, bowling, golfing, fishing, dancing, casino gambling, playing cards, and dining out. Leo also enjoyed woodworking, leather working, reconnecting with past students, and conversation with everyone he met. Leo and Vivian spent most summers and many winters traveling throughout the West and Southwest with their fifth wheel trailer. They built a lake home in Nisswa, Minn., where they eventually retired. A large part of Leo and Vivian’s life together was caring for their children and cherishing their grandchildren. They remained very close to their siblings and extended family. Vivian preceded Leo in death in 2009.

Leo is survived by his daughter and son-in-law, Mitzi and Paul Girtler, Winona; son, Leo Morgan Jr., Bemidji; grandchildren, Ryan (Bethany) Girtler, Shawnie (Elliot Zismer) Girtler, Shane (Heather) Morgan, Michelle Morgan, and Marianne Morgan; and great-grandchildren, Sophie and Mason Girtler. He is further survived by sister, Lois Sandberg; sisters-in law, June Stemwedel, Sharyn Keyser, and Darlene Hendren; Jim (JoAnn) Keyser; and several nieces and nephews to whom he will always be “Uncle Bud."

In addition to Vivian, Leo was preceded in death by his parents; sister, Dorothy Armstrong; sister-in-law, Nellie Gartzke; and brothers-in-law, Colin Hendren, Hank Gartzke, Bob Stemwedel, Myron Sandberg, and Richard Armstrong.

Funeral services will be held on Friday, November 3, 2017, at 1 p.m. at Fawcett Junker Funeral Home with Pastor Robert Hicks officiating. Burial will follow in Woodlawn Cemetery with Military Honors. Visitation will be held from noon until the time of service.

Casket bearers will be Ryan Girtler, Shane Morgan, Elliot Zismer, and James Girtler. Honorary casket bearers will be Shawnie Girtler, Bethany Girtler, and Michelle Morgan.

A memorial is being arranged at Winona State University. Fawcett Junker Funeral Home is assisting the family with arrangements. Leo’s family would like to thank the nurses and staff of Sugar Loaf Senior Living and Winona Hospice for their loving care. Words of sympathy or remembrance may be left at

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