I first met Dr. Bruce Evan ‘Doc’ Morgan in 2002. I had started dating Ellen and she took me to visit ‘Doc’ and his wife, Agnes Jean ‘Momsy’ Morgan (nee Barry) (pictured to the right together in 1992). ‘Doc” was a patient at the Parkwood Hospital in London, Ontario. ‘Doc’ had been confined to the hospital’s veterans program area as the result of a serious stroke that took away his ability to practice as a surgeon and forced him into retirement. ‘Doc’ and ‘Momsy’ were like second parents to Ellen having ‘adopted’ her into their family many years earlier. I will never forget ‘Doc’s’ first words to me – “You better take good care of her. She’s part Morgan you know.” It was all I could do to refrain from jumping to attention, saluting, and belting out “Yes, sir!”
‘Doc’ was a veteran of World War II having served as a 19 year-old navigator on bombers in the Royal Canadian Air Force, flying missions deep into German territory. Following the war, he took advantage of a government program for returning war veterans and agreed to serve in the army who in turn agreed to fund his enrollment in medical school. ‘Doc’ was a large, imposing man and there is no doubt in my mind that everyone knew who was in charge when ‘Doc’ Morgan was in the operating room.
‘Doc’ was born in Hamilton, Ontario, the son of a doctor, on January 30, 1924 and while in his teens became smitten with Agnes, who preferred to go by ‘Nan’, also a Hamilton, Ontario native. ‘Momsy’ enjoyed telling me of their courtship and I enjoyed seeing the twinkle in her eyes as she recalled those early years with Bruce. It seems that a dance was scheduled to be held at the local youth club and Nan had accepted the invitation of a young man to attend the dance when Bruce asked her to go to the dance with him. She explained to Bruce, gently I’m sure, that she already had a date for the dance. Bruce did not accept no for an answer and found a solution – he went to the young man and asked him if he could take Nan to the dance instead. Whoever that young man was, he agreed to Bruce’s request, perhaps out of fear. Thus began a courtship that included, according to Nan, a lot of walks through their Hamilton neighbourhood, talking about the styles and decor of the different homes they passed.
‘Doc’ and ‘Momsy’ were married on December 27, 1943 and passed away one year apart, each two days away from Valentine’s Day. ‘Momsy’ passed away peacefully holding on to ‘Doc’s’ favourite sweater, looking forward to dancing with her Bruce again.