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David Reid Morgan
February 26, 1933 ~ November 13, 2023 (age 90) 90 Years Old
David R. Morgan, a conscientious, thoughtful, and generous husband, father, grandfather, and great-grandfather and professor emeritus of political science at the University of Oklahoma, died at home in Norman, OK, on November 13th, 2023. David was born in Muskogee in February of 1933 and has lived in Norman since 1970. He retired from the University of Oklahoma in 2000 as a professor of political science and the Henry Bellmon Chair in Public Service.
David had a distinguished career as an author, educator, and public servant. He graduated from Tahlequah High School in 1951 as student body president. He joined the US Army in 1952 and served through 1954. Following basic training, he was a heavy mortar platoon leader with the 503d Airborne Infantry Regiment, 11th Airborne Division. David remained in the active reserve for another 12 years, including assignments with the 95th and 45th Infantry Divisions.
After military service, he attended OU, receiving a BA in government in 1956, followed by an MA in 1960 and a PhD in 1969. In 1956, David became a management intern with the City of Norman, where he served more than a year as an assistant to the city manager and eight months as acting city manager at the age of 24.
In 1959, David became the first city manager of Yukon, OK, where he remained until 1962. He then joined a unique program at the Oklahoma Center for Continuing Education called Urban Science. He had multiple additional assignments at OCCE, including the project director for several Peace Corps training programs.
In 1966, David became a faculty member in political science at Oklahoma City University, where he met his wife, Carolyn Stout Morgan. In 1969, he came to the OU political science faculty with an additional appointment in the Bureau of Government Research, where he eventually became director until the unit dissolved in 1987.
David was the author or coauthor of many political science journal articles, book chapters, and books mainly dealing with state and local government and intergovernmental relations. His book, Managing Urban America, first appeared in 1977, followed by many subsequent editions, and now coauthored with two of his former doctoral students, Dr. Robert England and Dr. John Pelissero.
In 1985, David was elected President of the Southwestern Political Science Association. The Oklahoma Political Science Association named him the 1992 Outstanding Political Scientist. He also received the Donald C. Stone Award for Outstanding Academic and Research Contributions to Intergovernmental Management from the American Society for Public Administration. In 2004, the Southwestern Political Science Association awarded David its Distinguished Service Award, and in 2011, he was inducted into the OK Higher Education Hall of Fame.
Following retirement in 2000, he was also chosen for the Hall of Fame of the Oklahoma Association of Cities and Towns. Shortly after his retirement, David’s graduate students established the David R. Morgan Endowment Fund to benefit outstanding graduate students in OU’s political science department. David served twice as the president of the OU Retirees Association (2004 and 2014).
During his time in Norman, David was active in community affairs, including six years on the City Planning Commission, three as chair of that group. He was also a city Utility Commission member from 1991-1996. During retirement, David wrote many letters to the Norman Transcript and periodically contributed to the Oklahoma Observer.
After David’s retirement, he spent four years tutoring first and second-grade students at Adams Elementary. He then began reading to pre-kindergarten children at Gingerbread House. He loved the little four-and-five-year-olds, and they responded well to him.
As a lifelong and active liberal Democrat, his hero was Franklin D. Roosevelt. In his later years, he received immense pleasure from the family’s little Havanese dog, Bella.
David is survived by Carolyn, his beloved wife of 55 years, and three children, Steve and his wife Tommie of Bixby, OK. Lisa Coats, and her husband Dane of Tulsa, OK, and Greg and his wife Michele of Juneau, Alaska, along with six grandchildren and eight great-grandchildren. He was preceded in death by his oldest daughter, Marilyn Morgan Carver.
Celebration Of Life
Saturday December 16, 2023 2:00 PM Havenbrook Funeral Home 3401 Havenbrook Street Norman, OK 73072