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Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Laura Morgan

Many of you may have recalled us talking about our landlord and neighbor, Hope and her 108 year old mother Laura.  Unfortunately, we must share the news with you of Laura's passing.  Please keep Hope in your thoughts and prayers during this difficult time.

The following is the obituary that ran in the Register Herald.  Laura truly lived an amazing life.

Laura Elizabeth Morgan

PINEVILLE — Laura Elizabeth Morgan, the oldest citizen of Wyoming County, WV, passed away Saturday, January 22, 2011, at the age of 108 at her residence.

Mrs. Morgan was born in Key Rock, West Virginia, on March 14, 1902, the daughter of John Lewis Smith and his wife Mary Louvenia Sizemore Smith. She was the eldest of five children — John Calvin, Martha Jane, Bessie Lillie, and Andrew Jackson “Buster” Smith.

On September 2, 1922, she married William Rath Morgan. Their children were Glenna Hope, Fawn Grey, Margie Mavis, Wanda Jean, Ronald Rath, and William Harold Morgan.

From her 1OOth birthday on, Mrs. Morgan was recognized on her birthdays by local, regional, and national media outlets, including THE INDEPENDENT HERALD, THE WYOMING COUNTY REPORT, THE REGISTER-HERALD, THE BRISTOL HERALD COURlER, the Bluefield, West Virginia, television station WVVA, and the NBC TODAY SHOW.

In recognition of her remarkable longevity, Mrs. Morgan twice received letters and personally autographed photographs of Pres. G. W. Bush as well as a letter from the President’s wife, Mrs. Laura Bush. Joe Manchin III, former governor (now Senator) of West Virginia, sent congratulatory birthday letters in four separate years; and Betty Ireland, West Virginia's Secretary of State, also sent birthday greetings.

On her 108th birthday, Mrs. Morgan received a belated, personal birthday greeting from President and Mrs. Barack Obama. Willard Scott, who included her in his program on her 100th and 104th birthdays, also sent her birthday greetings. On his program, THE TODAY SHOW, Mr. Scott called her “Mrs. Smucker.”

On June 29, 2007, Mrs. Morgan was honored by the town of Pineville during its centennial celebration when it was noted that she was older than the town itself. That same year, in the Dec. 2007-Jan. 2008 issue of WEST VIRGINIA SOUTH magazine, Mrs. Morgan was featured in a photo-journal article describing her life in rural West Virginia of a century ago.

In 2009, Mrs. Morgan was invited to be part of and has since been included in the New England Centenarian Study. This is the largest research project in the world seeking to identify and study the lives, health and personalities of individuals living to be over 100 years old and to ascertain the factors contributing to their longevity.

Mrs. Morgan is preceded in death by her husband William Rath Morgan; daughters Fawn Grey Morgan, Margie Cochran, and Jean Stone; son William Harold “Bill” Morgan; and grandsons Ronald Rath “Ronnie” Ball, Gary Duane and Brian Keith Cochran, and Michael Scott Morgan. She is survived by a sister, Martha Cook, age 100, of Pineville; her daughter, Hope Ball Huffman of Pineville; her son, Ronald Rath “Ron” Morgan and wife, Anna, of Bristol, VA; and daughter-in-law, Wilma Morgan of Gray, TN.

Surviving grandchildren are granddaughters, Elizabeth Ann Morgan of Charleston, WV, and Annika Morgan Thomas and husband, Dr. Duke Thomas, of Sewickley, PA; grandsons, Ronald Rath “Randy” Morgan, II, and Dr. Breton L. Morgan of Point Pleasant, WV; Melvin Gregory “Greg” Cochran and wife, Annette, of Bristol, TN; William Charles Stone and wife, Becky, of Augusta, GA, and John Keith Stone and wife, Cheryl, of North Port, FL; Kevin Morgan and wife, Mareena, of Waynesboro, VA; Mark Morgan and wife, Patricia, of Beckley, WV, and David Morgan and wife, Crystal Gayle, of Whitesville, WV.

Mrs. Morgan is also survived by seventeen great-grandchildren: Amanda Hope Ball McGrady and husband, Chad, of Beckley, WV; Justin, Autumn and Jacob Morgan of Point Pleasant, WV; Bryce Morgan of Waynesboro, VA; William Cochran and wife, Colleen, of Smyrna, GA; Laura Katharine Biscotte and husband, Stephen, of Roanoke, VA; Steven Cochran of Houston, TX; Evans and Emily Stone of Augusta, GA; Heather Frame of Ashburn, VA; John Powell, Molly Jean and Oliver Stone of North Port, FL; and Ben, Dane, and Lars Thomas of Sewickley, PA.

Mrs. Morgan’s great-great-grandchildren are Carter Biscotte of Roanoke, VA; Aidyn River McGrady of Beckley, WV; Ebone Frame of Charles Town, WV, and Chandler Turpin of Ashburn, VA.

Additional beloved family members include special nephew, Darrell Tolliver, Tommy and Juanita Morgan, Max and Jackie Morgan, Onnie and Marsha Morgan, Kay Morgan Wolfe, Judy Morgan Chericozzi, Bill and Millie Morgan, Church, Peggy Morgan Muniz, Wanda June Morgan Parks, Terry and Janie Morgan Allen, Lynn and Jerry Morgan; Rolland and Trilla Morgan, Morris and Pat Morgan Toot, Jack and Ann Morgan, Wimmer, Bob and Linda Morgan, Hollandsworth; sister-in-law, Billie Coen Smith, and nephews Johnny Smith and wife, Pat, Bobby Smith and wife, Tammy, and Teddy Smith and wife, Deena; John Henry Morgan and wife, Dolphine, and Merle Morgan of Scottsdale, AZ.

The family also would like to acknowledge the kindness of Dr. Brian Love of Beckley, WV, Dr. David Eells of Welch, WV, Dr. Sam Muscari, II, and Hospice of Beckley, WV, as well as express gratitude for the love and support of good friends, Nancy Ball Almond, Roby Castle, Gabriel and Ola Roberts, Wally and Dolores Brannon, and caregivers, Margie Hatfield, Vivian Church and Debra Morgan.

Funeral services will be at 2 p.m. Tuesday in the Chapel of Calfee Funeral Service with the Rev. Donald “Doc” Adkins officiating. Burial will follow in Morgan Family Cemetery, Centerville. The family will receive friends from noon to 2 p.m. Tuesday at the funeral home.

In lieu of flowers, those wishing to may make a contribution in her name to the Pineville Ministerial Food Pantry, P.O. Box 1508, Pineville, WV 24874.

Red ribbons will be placed throughout the Town of Pineville to honor Mrs. Morgan as Pineville’s oldest resident. These ribbons symbolize that she is older than the town and celebrate her life.

Calfee Funeral and Cremation Service of Pineville is serving the Morgan family.

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