James Carter Morgan (a.k.a. Jim, Jimmy, Carter, Bud) was the youngest of James Carter Sr.’s and wife Ruth Odom Morgan’s six children. The family plot in Wharton, Texas tells the story of his family bereaved by the death of an infant son and a daughter in early adulthood, a father who left this earth too soon and a mother who survived into her ninth decade. Sisters Ruby, Rescie and Selma lived on to recall stories of “brother” who was a little darling, towheaded and blue-eyed. A photo taken in the early 40’s reveals the siblings with happy faces and arms around each other’s lean waists, enduring the economics of the post-depression and World War II era in a small Texas farming community.
Dad’s recollections of the distant past became more frequent the older he got. His tales made us laugh with a winking eye of suspicion at their truth – taking rides with Sheriff “Buckshot Lane,” lying about his age and enlisting in the military at 16, being on a coast guard ship with a motley crew, driving a jeep down seedy streets of Kingston, Jamaica. Like most of us, he was sometimes a saint and sometimes a sinner.
Legend has it that he loved to dance in his young adulthood, frequenting the community dance hall in Hungerford or the tiny local diner where honky-tonk 2-stepping was an obstacle course around the tables and the burgers offered an abundance of grease. He disliked the hokey-pokey’s arrival on the dance scene because it did not involve holding the girl. Yes, he loved the ladies until his dying breath. He married Joyce, a beauty from Jamaica and the mother of his three daughters. After many years of marriage and Joyce’s passing, he married a sweetheart from Oklahoma, Laura Joan, and became involved in family life consisting not only of his own children but also five adult stepchildren. He experienced family drama from the comfort of his recliner. The years brought grandchildren and great grandchildren. He was grateful for his many nephews, nieces, cousins and in-laws from south Texas, kind and generous folks.
Dad’s woodworking was a source of joy for him and many items adorn the family’s homes today. Trips on his Honda Goldwing were a fond memory. In his later years he became a master at keeping a low profile, occasionally providing a smirk or an eyeroll as commentary on the subject at hand. He openly indulged daily in caramel candies and coca-colas. His worn Bible was a constant companion.
Dad was a patriot. He was proud of his 20 years in the U.S. Air Force as an NCO and especially his time with E.O.D. His adventures spanned the U.S. from Florida to Alaska, with stents in Jamaica, France, Turkey and Crete. He resided in Fort Worth, Texas since the 1960’s.
Dad rests with his Lord and a host of saints. His family will deeply miss him: daughters Charmaine Sides (husband Michael Sides), Shirley Jackson, and Paula Fitzpatrick (husband Greg Fitzpatrick); grandson Josef Zimmermann (wife Ashley Zimmermann and sons Brandt and Bennett); grandson Morgan Jackson; granddaughter Taylor (Jackson) Elliot (husband Jimmy Elliott); Laura Joan’s children (the Burrises – Kim, Sheila, Donald, David and John); and his extensive family in Texas (the Bradleys, Napoleons and Thomases).
Forever in our hearts, Dad, your daughters thank you for sound advice from time to time and for keeping us clothed, fed, safe and sheltered.