James Robert Morgan
MADISON – James R. Morgan, loving husband, father, brother, and grandfather passed away on Tuesday, February 18, 2014 at the age of 87.
Jim was born in Oshkosh, Wisconsin to William and Caroline Morgan on June 13, 1926. He grew up on the shores of Lake Winnebago with five siblings, helping his parents through the depression years by doing odd jobs. He graduated from Oshkosh High School in 1944, proudly served his country in World War II in the Army Air Corps, received his bachelor’s degree in 1950 from the UW-Madison, and excitedly threw his cane over the goalposts at Camp Randall to celebrate his law degree in 1952.
Jim began his career as researcher at the Wisconsin Taxpayers Alliance. From there he became the Tax Commissioner for the State of Wisconsin and eventually the Secretary of Revenue from 1965-1971 under Governor Warren Knowles. He returned to the WTA as President for 23 years and served as a trusted source of state financial information to governors of both parties, legislators, media and the public. He often joked, “Everyone is mad at me, so I must be doing something right.”
Jim’s intelligence, ability to work with people of differing opinions and political persuasions, and his unquestioned fairness led to him being appointed as the chair of the State Ethics Board from 1980 to 2006. He also served on the Board of Directors for the UW Research Park.
Jim met his first wife Evonne Kellerman in Oshkosh at the Teaching College. They married in 1950 and moved to Madison and raised five children on the near west side of Madison. The family regularly vacationed in Waupaca where Jim mastered the art of putting the luggage of seven people under the canoe on the roof of the family wagon. Jim lost his first love, Evonne, in 1978 and took over the role of father AND mother to his children.
Jim married his second love, Ellie Sax, in 1993. They loved fishing, playing tennis and especially relaxing on the Chain ‘O Lakes in Waupaca and in Florida in the winter. He loved spending time with Ellie, and they managed to overcome their mutual tennis competitiveness to spend 20 happy years together.
Survivors include his wife, Ellie; children Bill (Lori Millet), Jon (Amy), Carrie (Mike Foy), Jim (Jane) and Anne (Dave Giroux); step-children Laurie Thrall (Joe), Wendy Sax (Jeff Houser), Rob Sax (Liz); Brother Dick, sister-in-law Carol Rasmussen; and eighteen grandchildren. He was preceded in death by his parents William and Caroline; first wife Evonne; siblings Alice, Betty, Jeanette, and JoAnne.
A Mass of Christian Burial will be held at 12 Noon on Saturday, February 22, 2014 at Blessed Sacrament Catholic Church, 2131 Rowley Avenue, Madison, with Father Steve Kuhlmann and Father Tony Schumacher presiding. A visitation will take place at church on Saturday after 10 a.m. until the time of mass.
Memorials can be made payable to the UW Foundation-Lily’s Fund, US Bank Lockbox 78807, Milwaukee, WI 53278. Lily’s Fund supports epilepsy research at the University of Wisconsin.
The Family would like to acknowledge the incredible care and compassion provided by Agrace Hospice Care.