Robert M. “Bob” Morgan, 89, of Chillicothe, died at 5:49 p.m. Sept. 5, 2020, at his home following an extended illness.
He was born July 18, 1931, in McArthur, OH, to the late Joseph Nelson and Ruth E. (Morris) Morgan. On Oct. 6, 1985, he married the former Marianna Kerns, who survives.
Also surviving are his daughters: Tracy (Dan) Haubeil, of Chillicothe; Lisa Morgan and her significant other, Mike Leamon, both of Kingsland, TX; step-children: James D. Stratton, of Chillicothe, Kimberly S. (Cohmer) Cook, of Frankfort, Leigh Ann (Mike) Dubois, of Crawfordville, FL, Tammy L. (Phil) Dentler, of Plant City, FL, Lori Jean (Michael) Crossley, of Ocala, FL, and Anthony L. “Tony” (Luz) Cohmer, of Columbus, OH; 7 step-grandchildren; and a sister Anna Marie (Earl) Kuhn. In addition to his parents, he was predeceased by a sister JoAnn Allen.
After graduating from Wellston High School in 1949, he and a high school buddy traveled to Oregon to work with his friend’s father in the lumber business cutting trees. Bob returned to Ohio in mid-1951 and entered the U.S. Air Force during the Korean War and served under General LeMay as a crew chief on the KC 97 tanker. He received an honorable discharge in December of 1955 and returned to Chillicothe and worked for McAllister Chevrolet in various roles.
Bobby Morgan’s number-one passion in life was racing and he started right out of high school. If anyone followed sprint car racing in the 60’s to early 70’s, chances are they knew Bobby Morgan #66.
In 1959, Bobby lasted only six months in a sought-after factory job at DuPont because he “couldn’t get off to race!” Being independent minded and an accomplished mechanic, Bobby leased a gas station and soon became the owner of Morgan’s Sunoco and Speed Shop for the next 30 years. By the time his career ended, over 100 trophies were on display at the station. “I never missed another opportunity to race because of an employer!”
During his lengthy career, Morgan raced at more than 30 tracks in seven states to include his hometown track of Atomic Speedway. In April 2011 he was inducted into the Atomic Speedway Hall of Fame. He raced in an era before the World of Outlaws and the All-Star sprints. These were the days when it was one driver, one car, one set of tools and few guys to help out. The best mechanic and driver would win – and that was Bobby Morgan most of the time! He survived many crashes and won over 100 feature races. The only dream he did not fulfill was moving into the NASCAR circuit. He chose instead to ensure his daughters got a college education. Years later, when Bobby was 72, his daughters paid him back with a Richard Petty driving school experience at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. Bobby out drove 30 drivers half his age to get the fastest average speed of 147.8 mph. It was a perfect day!
Bob and his wife Marianna started a business called “Marianna’s Originals” in 1987. This was a retail store located in the Carlisle Building. They closed the business in 1991 when Bob was diagnosed with colon cancer. After his recovery, they traveled in their motor home to various craft shows throughout the United States and Canada.
In 1999 at age 68, Bob decided he wanted to drive the “big rigs” and attended Truck Driving School in Nashville and passed with flying colors. Shortly thereafter, he was hired by Choice Products in Washington C.H. to manage the warehouse and make deliveries. He and his wife were co-managers in this venture and left in 2008 when the corporate headquarters decided to shut down the facility.
Not to let grass grow under his feet, Bob applied for a job with Sam’s Club in 2008 and was hired immediately. He was one of their oldest and most dependable employees serving in various roles from gas station operator, to maintenance and lastly greeter. After 11 years, Bob resigned due to health challenges.
Bob was active in the mid 70’s with the Freemasons Scioto Lodge No. 6 in Chillicothe. He was a Master Mason, 32nd degree Scottish Rite and a Shriner. He was also a member of the American Legion Post 62.
The family would like to give special thanks to Dr. John Seidensticker and his son Bill and hospice nurse Sharee Smith for their exceptional care along with Haller Funeral Home.
Military graveside services will be held at 3 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 10, in Ridgewood Cemetery, Wellston, OH, with Chaplain Bruce Hines officiating. Arrangements are under the direction of Haller Funeral Home & Crematory. In lieu of flowers, contributions can be made to Adena Health Foundation, Hospice Services, 9 S. Paint St., Chillicothe, OH 45601. His online guestbook and video tribute are available at www.HallerFuneralHome.com