Life Member. Saxophone
9/11/1921 – 7/6/2019
Tom “Tippy” Morgan passed peacefully on July 6, 2019 at the Ventura Cal-Vet home. Born in 1921 in St. Paul, Minnesota, he was the youngest of five boys born to John Herbert Morgan and Ida Ludell (Phillips) Morgan and discovered an early love of music. He fondly recalled teenage jam sessions at the Minneapolis home of the Pettiford family where he learned how to swing alongside future jazz legend Oscar Pettiford.
He had a distinguished army career with the 96th Infantry and received the Purple Heart in 1944 after taking shrapnel from a hand grenade on Okinawa.
Back home, he toured with numerous Big Bands, including Claude Thornhill (where he placed high on the Downbeat poll for best clarinetist), Sam Donahue, Billy May and Harry James. In 1950 he joined Capitol Records, starting as a record salesman. He worked his way up to A&R and eventually to Vice President of East Coast Operations. He moved to Decca Records in 1972 where he produced the cast album of “Jesus Christ, Superstar” and was nominated for a Grammy. He was an original member of NARAS (1957) and served two terms as national secretary/treasurer. He finished his career working for artists’ rights at the L.A. Musician’s Union and was nominated for a Grammy for Johnny Otis’s “Spirit of the Black Territory Bands.”
In 2016, following many years in Camarillo, he was happy to move to the California Veterans Residence Home in Ventura, where he was fortunate to team up with another resident/musician and do gigs for seniors throughout Ventura County.
He was preceded in death by wife Doris Sonner (1986) and wife Iris Yadon Cheever (2012). Survivors include daughter Christina (Robert) Ferraro of La Crescenta, California, son Tom Jr. (Heather) of Palos Verdes Estates, California, and eight grandchildren who lovingly called him “Buppa.”