William Robert Morgan

Published 10:59 pm Tuesday, October 31, 2017

William Robert Morgan, 80 years old, known to all as Robert Morgan, passed away quietly in his sleep during the night of Oct. 26, 2017.

Robert was diagnosed with advanced lung cancer earlier this summer and chose to allow the disease to run its course without treatment. Born in LaGrange, Georgia, and educated at Emory College at Oxford and Emory University, Robert had friends in every corner of the state. Most of all, though, Robert was a teacher’s teacher. He spent his entire career teaching at DeKalb County’s Druid Hills High School where he lit fires under countless numbers of students.

In 1968, he was named as the Georgia Teacher of the Year, which made him Georgia’s nominee for National Teacher of the Year. His classes covered American history and government, but, like all gifted teachers, his real talent was touching and inspiring children to be the best at whatever they found they loved. He did not limit his energy to the classroom, however, as he gave decades of time sponsoring students’ extra-curricular activities, such as the Druid Hills yearbook, class plays, the cheerleading squad, and traveling to Washington, D.C., as part of the CloseUp program. Robert enjoyed his retirement, spending extended periods every fall at St. Simons with many friends, including the other two teachers from Druid Hills with whom he shared such a close bond, the late Mary Eyles and the late John Hampton, another product of LaGrange.

Robert also never stopped giving and teaching, volunteering at a host of enterprises, including the Fernbank Natural History Museum. Robert had no siblings and his parents, John and Claudia, of LaGrange, pre-deceased him. His closest surviving family member, his cousin, Betty Jean Blackburn of LaGrange, remained a loving and supportive presence for Robert all of his life. Primarily, though, Robert is survived by hundreds of dear friends and thousands of former students all of whom live lives of greater commitment to justice and love because of this giving friend and gifted teacher. In lieu of flowers, Robert asked that donations be made to Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta.

At Robert’s request, no funeral service will be held. Friends are organizing a memorial service to be held in the coming weeks, the details of which will be announced through social media at a later date.