With sadness we announce the passing of Mary Jane Morgan, a devoted and loving wife, mother, grandmother, friend, teacher, and philanthropist, on Oct. 9, 2020, after a courageous and hard-fought battle with cancer.
Mary Jane was born in Tulsa, Okla., on June 12, 1945, to Cecil and Walene Folks. She was raised in Snyder, Okla., and obtained her bachelor’s degree in mathematics from Southwestern Oklahoma State University in Weatherford, Okla. She proceeded to pursue a master’s degree in mathematics at the University of Missouri, where she met and fell in love with her husband of 53 years, Raymond Victor “Vic” Morgan, Jr. She often said that she was pursuing a doctorate degree, but got both a Mrs. degree and doctorate degree when she married Vic.
They spent a few years in Dallas, Texas, where Vic was a professor at Southern Methodist University, and Mary Jane completed her master’s degree in mathematics. She subsequently taught math at Highland Park Middle School.
Subsequently, Vic and Mary Jane moved to Alpine, Texas, in 1975, which would become their home for the next 40 years. It was in Alpine that they had two sons, Jason and Jeremy, and Mary Jane was never more resilient than coping with and through the loss of her oldest son Jason in an automobile accident in 2000.
Mary Jane taught mathematics at Alpine High School for over 30 years, impacting the lives of numerous students. She was active with various student organizations, including Anchor Club, Student Council, University Interscholastic League math competitions, class sponsor, yearbook, and more. Her past students continued to correspond, visit, and express their profound gratitude for what she meant to them as a teacher, even though they may not have appreciated or understood it at the time.
Beyond teaching, Mary Jane was also the first lady of Sul Ross State University in Alpine beginning in 1990 when Vic was named the president of the university. This, too, entailed persistent organizing of events, and attending events and student activities, as well as interacting with students, faculty, regents, and others. She managed these responsibilities with dignity and grace. Her unrelenting passion for this aspect of her life, supporting Vic and Sul Ross, was one of her trademarks, but at the same time she didn’t have to give up her identity and never did. Her legacy is, and will be, long lasting at Sul Ross, as the university center is named the Vic and Mary Jane Morgan University Center.
Mary Jane retired from teaching in 2001, and proceeded to become an avid philanthropist and volunteer. Community involvement was always a passion, but she was able to devote more time and energy. She was a member of Pilot Club in Alpine, and rose to be Texas District Governor of Pilot International, and later, Treasurer of Pilot International. She was director of Leadership Big Bend for 10 years, and sat on the Alpine Independent School District Board of Education for two terms. Having survived breast cancer, she was involved in American Cancer Society activities, including chairing Relay for Life in Alpine. She delivered Meals on Wheels, and was involved in numerous church activities, including church treasurer at Alpine Church of Christ.
One of Mary Jane’s most significant community involvement efforts was working to organize and raise funds to obtain the land and build a new public library in Alpine that open in 2012. For all her efforts, she was named Alpine’s Citizen of the Year in 2004, and Alpine’s Ambassador of the Year in 2010.
After Vic failed at retirement, they moved to Victoria, Texas, in 2014, where Vic became interim president of the University of Houston Victoria. Mary Jane continued her passion for community involvement and volunteer activities in Victoria. She was involved with the Victoria Symphony League, serving as president, the Bach Festival Endowment Board, Theatre Victoria, VISD Foundation, Mid-Coast Family Services, and Bronte and Pilot Club of Victoria. She was named the incoming president of the VISD Foundation and Bronte before being diagnosed with cancer. She was also involved with church activities at the Central Church of Christ, and activities at the University of Houston Victoria.
Mary Jane was always on the go, but most of all, people recognized her work ethic, willingness to take on any task, unwavering reliability, and tirelessly advocating for the causes in which she believed.
In August 2019, Mary Jane became a grandmother when her first and only grandson was born. She loved spending time with him, and holding him.
Mary Jane is survived by her husband Vic; their son Jeremy Morgan and his wife Katherine; their grandchild Grayson Morgan; her brother John Folks and his wife Wyvonna; and numerous nieces, nephews, and cousins. Mary Jane was preceded in death by her parents, Cecil and Walene Folks; and her son Jason Morgan.
A memorial service will be held virtually through the website of Central Church of Christ in Victoria on Monday, Oct. 19, 2020, at 11 a.m. For those wishing to attend, please visit churchofvictoria.com/index.php.
Donations in her memory can be directed to the Vic and Mary Jane Morgan Mathematics Scholarship Endowment at Sul Ross State University (sulross.edu/giving), the Bach Foundation Endowment (victoriabachfestival.org/endowment-trust/), the VISD Foundation Endowment (visdfoundation.org/how-can-i-help), or any endowment at the University of Houston Victoria (uhv.edu/give/).
Words of comfort may be shared with the family at rosewoodfuneralchapel.com.