January 3, 1948 – March 10, 2021
John died on Wednesday March 10th after suffering catastrophic brain injury in a tragic accident on March 7th. He was 73 years old.
John was predeceased by his parents, Islwyn and Ann Morgan, his sister Janet and brother Richard. He is survived by Bronwen, his wife of 50 years and friend of 55 years. John and Bronwen had no children. He is also survived by his British Columbia family: nephew Christopher Webster (Stel.la) and their children Elia and Biel, niece Sarah Webster and niece Siân Webster (Robert) and Siân’s children, Brandon, Dylan and Isobel; nephew Julian Morgan (Cindy) and their children Helena and Rhys; sister-in-law Jeannine also of B.C. John’s Toronto family consisted of Bronwen, his sister-in-law, Sara Clenyg-Jones and his niece Eluned Bronwen (Dakoda).
Rhiwbina, Cardiff, Wales was John’s birthplace. The family immigrated to Canada living in Windsor and North Bay. John was an intelligent student entering university (Glendon College) at age 16. He completed his Honours B.A. at 20 and his Master’s degree from Western at 22. He obtained his Ph.D. from Cambridge University (St. John’s College) while in his twenties. His academic specialty was 17th century English social history. He completed a two year post-doctoral fellowship at the University of Toronto. Next came teaching at the University of Western Ontario then Queen’s and finally Ryerson. He and colleagues Tom Barbiero and Tom Barcsay founded “Ryerson in Europe” to introduce students to European culture while the professors enjoyed teaching but also fine wine and Europe’s cities and villages.
For John it was a privilege to be part of academic life, a privilege to be reciprocated with hard work, dedication and self-discipline. He was an unapologetic advocate for proper protocol and the fairness arising from rules-based behaviour. Teaching and research were a pleasure. He was energized by contact with students who noted he was a demanding professor. He believed this to be part of his role to bring out the best in students. His values required him to be on top of his field to provide academic excellence. He cared about others and was aware of inequities in privilege. For six years he worked as chief negotiator for the Ryerson Faculty Association accomplishing many advancements for faculty. For this he received an award for distinguished service.
Travel was a delight for John, the United Kingdom, France, Italy, and South Florida being favourite destinations. Wine collection (Robert Parker, Third Edition as guide) was conducted with the same meticulous dedication to detail given to academic work. A bibliophile, he cherished his seventeenth century King James Bible. John had expertise in religious history but his personal values were morally based and he followed no specific religion. A devoted follower of Manchester United “footie” since childhood, he celebrated their wins and deplored their losses. Sports he played included cricket and football in the U.K. and tennis and squash in Canada. He was a devotee of European cars and treasured his Alfa Romeo. He was quiet about his gift for creative photography specializing in Sarasota sunsets. His favourite past-time was intellectual debate and discussion. He liked to win.
Canada was John’s primary residence but he delighted in his two sojourns to England as an adult (four years in the seventies and one year in the eighties as a visiting fellow at Clare Hall, Cambridge). In recent years, John reconnected with friends from the past: the Glendon Geezers at baseball games and Carl and Jan Swanson from North Carolina on vacations in Sarasota. Along with work colleagues he was a regular presence at the Library in the Imperial Pub. He and Bronwen had many cats over the years. John always insisted they would be temporary – academic debates he would lose.
John and Bronwen met at Glendon College in 1966. John left a note on Bronwen’s door that said “Cymru Am Byth” (Wales forever). She sensed that behind this note there was an intriguing personality. Bronwen will be forever grateful for his love, devotion, staunch support, generosity of spirit, unique sense of humour and enjoyment of fun. This loss is beyond measure.
Bronwen and Sara have received support from so many family members, friends and neighbours. To Chris, Siân, Eluned Bronwen, Dakoda, Laura, Pat, Liz, Roy, Karen, Ian, Joey, Sister Teresa, and others our gratitude. To the St Michael’s TNICU staff our thanks for your empathy and care. To Dr. John Marshall, TNICU medical chief, our appreciation for your insight, wisdom, and guidance.
John’s wish was cremation with no funeral service. Technical deviation from his wishes allows a celebration of his life. Covid permitting, this will occur in the summer or autumn with details to follow.
Nos da, John