Joe Baird Morton Jr., 83, of Harrisonburg, Va., joined the Church Triumphant, March 8, 2013, at Sunnyside Presbyterian Retirement Community after battling several illnesses and two strokes for several months. The son of Joe Baird Morton and Marguerite Wilson Morton, he was born, as he liked to say, on a tobacco farm in Granville County, N.C., July 27, 1929. On April 6, 1953, he married Patricia G. Morton, who survives him. He is also survived by two sons, Lawrence R. Morton, of Dumfries, Va., and Richard F. Morton and wife, Ellen; two grandchildren, Julia B. Morton and Brian D. Morton, all of Richmond, Va.; one sister, Margaret M. Blackwood and husband, Sam, of Clearwater, Fla.; one nephew; one niece and several cousins.
Mr. Morton was a graduate of Bartlett Yancey High School in Yanceyville, N.C., and then in 1951, from Davidson College, Davidson, N.C. After graduation from Davidson College, Mr. Morton completed Officer Candidate School in Newport, R.I., and was commissioned in the U.S. Navy. He served on a destroyer and a destroyer escort for almost three years and was stationed at various bases from Boston, Mass., to Key West, Fla. In 1955, he began work with Travelers Insurance Company in Charlotte, N.C. Subsequently, he worked for Travelers in Richmond, Va., Jacksonville, Fla., and Knoxville, Tenn. In 1972, he came to Harrisonburg and worked proudly for Shomo & Lineweaver Insurance Agency for the next 23 years. He served as secretary/treasurer for the agency and was a member of the Independent Insurance Agents of America, the Independent Insurance Agents of Virginia, and served on its Board of Directors. In 1962, he earned the Chartered Property Casualty Underwriter (CPCU) designation.
Mr. Morton was an avid sports fan and was particularly a fan of Davidson College, UVA, and JMU. He was also quite a traveler. He and his wife had traveled to all 50 states in the USA, every county in Virginia, and numerous foreign countries. He was a longtime member of the First Presbyterian Church in Harrisonburg, where he served as elder, trustee, and chairman of the Board of Trustees. He was also a loyal member of the Harrisonburg Kiwanis Club, which he served in many offices, including president. He was named a George F. Hixson Fellow by the Kiwanis Club. He was also president of the Jim Howe Men’s Club at Sunnyside.
A memorial service will be held at First Presbyterian Church in Harrisonburg Wednesday, March 13, 2013, at 11 a.m. with Dr. John F. Sloop and the Rev. Thomas J. Holden III officiating. Mr. Morton’s ashes will be buried Thursday at Tranquility Cemetery in Granville, N.C.
In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be made to Davidson College, Box 7174, Davidson, NC 28035-7174 or Sunnyside Presbyterian Retirement Communities, 600 University Blvd., Suite L, Harrisonburg, VA 22801.
Online condolences may be sent to the family by visiting www.kygers.com .