Dr. Page W. Morgan, retired Professor in the Texas A&M University Department of Soil and Crop Sciences, passed away peacefully in Abilene, Texas, on Friday, Sept. 27. He was 86 years old.
Page Wesley Morgan was born on April 3, 1933, to Vernon Page Ikard Morgan and Guy Wesley Morgan, in Phoenix, Arizona, while they were living in a tent city for Depression-era migrants. When his parents returned with him to Texas, he spent his childhood in Wichita Falls and Iowa Park, where he attended school. While in High School, he became active in the county 4-H club, where he not only won awards in speech and debate, but also met Joyce Broseh, a cute, spunky girl from across the county who became his lifelong love.
Page attended Texas A&M, where he received a B.S. in Range Science. He and Joyce were married on June 3, 1955 and moved to Newport News, Virginia, where Page completed his army service before returning to College Station to begin graduate studies. By 1961, he had completed an M.S. and Ph.D. in Plant Physiology, and was hired into the A&M faculty. From those early years living in the old student housing at South Gate, Page and Joyce made College Station home, raising three children and serving in the community, schools, and their beloved church family. After 42 years on faculty, Dr. Morgan retired from A&M in 2002, after which he and Joyce enjoyed church life, their family and friends, and A&M sports. When Joyce underwent a health crisis in 2011, Page faithfully cared for her until her death in 2016. During those last years of Joyce’s life, and as his own health declined, Page enjoyed the warm friendship and support of his daughter Cathy and her family. In 2018, he moved to Abilene to be near son Ronnie and his wife, Janine.
Page and Joyce instilled in their children a love for Jesus Christ, the Bible, and the life of the church. Throughout 60 years of marriage, their life revolved around the church rhythms of Sundays and Wednesdays, and for many of those years, their home echoed with the sounds, smells and tastes of Christian community, as they were renowned for their hospitality. Both served as Bible school teachers, instilled in their children the beauty and wisdom of Judeo-Christian scripture, and offered leadership in the church. Those who know Page well recognize the role he often played as chairmen of the elders, helping to focus and clarify discussions. While he had his own conservative inclinations, he always sought to reconcile differing opinions in order to ensure peace and cohesion.
As a member of the faculty at Texas A&M, Dr. Morgan had a productive career as a research scientist, leader of academic organizations, and publisher of important research. Following an early career focused on cotton research, he turned his attention to sorghum. Page was quiet and unassuming; whenever someone would ask Page about the nature of his work, he would smile, look sheepishly down at the ground, sort of chuckle, and reply something like “Well, you see, plants have hormones…” Despite such humility, the scientific break-throughs of Page and his colleagues advanced the state of scientific knowledge and global agricultural production through a myriad of important academic publications. He received worldwide acknowledgement in his field: he was editor for years of the journal Plant Physiology, served as 1980-81 president of the American Society of Plant Physiologists, and authored or co-authored dozens of academic publications, including the classic work Ethylene in Plant Biology. Page was interested in applied science as well as in theory; he not only enjoyed frequent interchanges with colleagues in the Texas AgriLife Extension Service, but also worked for several decades as an external consultant for Union Carbide, where he monitored the impact of their South Texas factory emissions on surrounding crops. As one A&M colleague recently remarked, “Page Morgan’s legacy lives on through his former students and post-docs.”
Page was preceded in death by his son Randall Page Morgan (d.2005) and his wife Joyce Broseh Morgan (d.2016). He is survived by his sister Mary Buckley of Fort Myers, Florida, and brother Jerry M. Morgan of Wichita Falls; daughter Catherine Elaine Smith, son-in-law Steven J. Smith, and grandsons Cord and Garrett Smith, all of College Station; son Ronald J. Morgan and daughter-in-law Janine Paden Morgan of Abilene, along with granddaughters Lara Morgan of Austin, Texas and Daniela Morgan of Chiang Rai, Thailand.
In lieu of flowers, please send donations to Sam’s Place, a Christian home and school for deaf youth in Kenya for which Page often expressed admiration. Make checks payable to S. 11th & Willis Church of Christ (Memo: Sam’s Place Fund) and mail to S. 11th & Willis Church of Christ, 3309 S. 11th Street, Abilene, TX 79605.
The family invites you to visit Dr. Morgan’s tribute page at www.hillierfuneralhome.com to share memories and stories.