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Saturday, December 06, 2008

William Morgan ~ Esteemed Butlerite

+ November 30, 2008
Bill Morgan started his career as an entrepreneur as a small boy delivering newspapers in Meridian, where he walked up and back a half-mile lane, all for two cents per paper. He ended up with a chain of 52 restaurants serving Western Pennsylvania and Eastern Ohio.

19 comments:

Anonymous said...

Much has been said in Butler about Bill Morgan as a businessman and community leader. But I knew him for a long time more as a friend and even though years and distance seperated us for the last couple of decades, I was always glad to see him when I got back up to Butler and felt privileged to call him a friend. He had a special quality. Adios, Bill, and make sure to say hello to Bill for me when you see him.

Charles said...

Obituary:
William A. Morgan Jr., 78, of Butler died Sunday at UPMC Presbyterian Hospital in Pittsburgh.
Born Dec. 13, 1929, in Butler, he was the son of the late William A. Morgan Sr. and the late Opal I. (Fisher) Morgan.
Mr. Morgan started his career as an entrepreneur as a small boy delivering newspapers in Meridian, where he walked up and back a half-mile lane, all for 2 cents per paper.
He made his first fortune while still a business administration student at Grove City College, when he noticed service men carried their discharge papers in clear, protective sleeves. Morgan, who was working for a funeral home at the time, realized he could laminate obituaries for funeral directors to give to the families of the deceased. He soon was making more money than the college professors and made enough to buy two new cars, put himself through college and buy his first restaurant in 1953, Dight's Diner, on Washington Street, at the age of 21. This was the beginning of a chain of 52 restaurants serving Western Pennsylvania and Eastern Ohio.
Since then, he has had his business and offices in Butler. After the purchase of the diner, he built Morgan's Wonder boy Drive In at Bon Aire, which had the first Teletray Curb Service in Pennsylvania. About 1955, Bill became the fifth Kentucky Fried Chicken franchiser in the United States and opened a Kentucky Fried Chicken Carry Out beside the diner. The Garden Gate restaurant was purchased in 1964; and two years later, Morgan's Wonder Boy was opened on North Main Street Extension. In 1970, the restaurant chain was sold. His retirement lasted less than two years. About this time, Bill was commissioned a Kentucky Colonel.
In 1972, Bill bought the Spaide Shirt Factory on Brugh Avenue, which was built in 1918. He converted it into a beautiful, professional office complex; and it received the highest award in the United States shortly after the renovation, the Honor Award for Excellence in Design. The building was destroyed by a fire in 2003.
He then purchased the Nixon Hotel site and the Morgan Center came into reality on East Diamond Street. He also developed 10,000 square feet at the Tier Parking Garage into two offices.
He developed 8½ acres at Eastland Plaza for a diner, office building and warehouse. The diner was sold in 2003, and he built on its site, Morgan II, a medical office building, which was sold in 2007.
Mr. Morgan developed and built the first modern automatic car wash in Butler in 1969 on Route 8 North and operated it until it was sold in 1986. He again owned and operated it from February 2002 to January 2003.
In 1976, a second car wash was built on New Castle Road, with an addition of five self-service bays and was operated by Mr. Morgan until 1991. In March 2002, he again obtained ownership of the site, and it opened as a laser wash. He also had a tractor-trailer fleet, which hauled mushrooms from the Butler County Mushroom Farm, a Shasta Travel Trailer Sales and contracted Stylex Homes in the area. Through his many businesses, he not only provided many jobs on his payroll but also used local contactors and suppliers.
He currently owned and managed professional office buildings and a laser car wash.
A member of numerous professional organizations, he was a former member of the Irene Stacy Mental Health Board, was on the original Sparkplug Committee of the Butler County Chamber of Commerce, a board member of the Downtown Butler Renaissance Committee, served on the United Way of Butler County, was chairman of the American Cancer Society in 1973, a former member of the Butler Memorial Hospital Board, was president of the Chamber of Commerce from 1977 to 1978, was presented with the key to the city of Butler in 2000 and was a Chamber of Commerce board member in 2003. In 2005, he was awarded the Lifetime Achievement Award, and he also received the inaugural Entrepreneur of the Year Award by the chamber, which bears his name.
He belonged to the Syria Temple and Scottish Rite and was a lifetime member of Grove City Lodge 603. He was a member of the Butler Country Club. He was a proud member of the AA for 25Z\x years.
He was a pilot and owned his own plane since the 1960s. He enjoyed traveling and golf.
Mr. Morgan Jr. is survived by one daughter, Mrs. Jeffery T. (Nancy) McCarren of Butler; two sons, David W. Morgan and Robert C. Morgan of Butler; four grandchildren; one sister, Mrs. Eugene J. (Patricia) Houllion of Butler; three nieces; and a number of cousins. Lois Mergenthalera, devoted corporate secretary to Mr. William Morgan Jr., for 48 years, also survives.

Anonymous said...

I worked for Morgan several years ago and can say that he was the worst individual I have ever worked for. I can say this even after 20
some years of military service.
He may have been financially successful, but he was morally bankrupt. He shouldn't be honored!
The people who he lied to and stepped on should be.

Anonymous said...

It's never nice to malign the dead, especially since there's no way that he can defend his character...I'm not saying that your claims aren't based in fact because, to be honest, I find them rather hard to believe --- but, be that as it may, you should have had the decency to address your remarks to Mr. Morgan whilst he was still alive

Anonymous said...

Bill was someone I met a few times, and I respected him totally. He had a lot of wisdom to offer to people, and things he said I will never forget. The things he said have changed my views on many things in life for the positive. God Bless you Bill...I'll see you soon.

Anonymous said...

It's not nice to treat people like dirt. It's not nice to lie to people.
It's not nice to embarrass your workers in front of their customers. I would have loved to have been there when Morgan tried to explain why he did the things that he did. I would have loved to see his face when God sent him to Hell.

Anonymous said...

The Bill Morgan I knew, and I knew him for over twenty-five years, would never lie or treat anyone wrongfully...he was a true gentleman in every sense of the word and there's absolutely no doubt in my mind that his spirit now resides in Heaven --- God Bless you, Mr. Morgan

Margaret said...

I have read that Mr. Morgan had been a pilot for fifty long years. He was also involved in New Castle Consistory. Hats off to him for his accomplishments.

Anonymous said...

Bill Morgan was certainly well known. But despite close observation over the years, it did not seem as though he put much of the wealth he generated in Butler County back into the system. It'd be great to learn that he did so generously, humbly, quietly. That can be much more challenging to learn than how to sell chicken wings.

Anonymous said...

If the above "anonymous" knew anything about generating wealth it is so much more than just giving away money. Bill Morgan employed a lot of people. More workers and more money into the system, it's really very simple.
I knew Morgan and he was a great guy but not well liked among the lazy that were just out for a free ride. He expected workers to work.

Anonymous said...

Bill Morgan was a businessman. His only concern was Bill Morgan. He always reminded me of Mr. Potter in "It's a Wonderful Life." He is the one who had Diamond Park turned into a concrete park which just happened to match his building.

Anonymous said...

yes bill was a very greedy person. I remember the story of him ripping my father in law off in a business deal when he was first starting out

Anonymous said...

The man had nice taste in clothes. Someone donated a bunch of his clothing to the Goodwill. His name was stamped in most of the shirts and some of the pants. I bought a complete wardrobe for a new job for around $100. Looks like I spent $1000.

Anonymous said...

I knew Bill Morgan and his wife Pat and the family all my life. I didn't know HIM that well. He was always off with my father (Dr. McCorry) flying the plane they owned and doing whatever. I remember visiting their house and riding their wonderful horse, that felt like a rocking horse when in a gallop. Then, after I got married and left Butler for Michigan, I heard he and Pat divorced. My father ended up having his orthopedic office in one of his buildings. They were always good friends. Not with my mother, though. She had NOT so good things to say about him. I also worked for his restaurant when I was in college. Interesting to hear all the opinions about him...
Mimi McCorry

Anonymous said...

This comment is directed towards the individual who stated that I shouldn't say bad things about the dead.
I happened to be out of country defending this country.
My sister called me and told me the good news. I was so happy because another Sadam Hussein was gone.
Bill Morgan represented to me everything evil in this world and I thought of him often.
I remember visiting Aushwitz Concentration Camp and thinking to myself that if Bill Morgan could of made a buck helping Hitler he wouldn't hesitate. Those that praise him knew him on a social level. That's much different than working for him.
Did you hear about Bill Morgans new car? It stops on a dime, then tries to pick it up.

Anonymous said...

Did not know Mr. Morgan personally or professionally, but do know someone who had worked for him. Anyone - anywhere - who puts their own name on a business, invests so much of themselves into making a decent product or service, may appear to be too demanding. Walk a mile in someone else's shoes before you judge them. Years ago we went to his diner by route 422 and it was the cleanest place around, and the food was very good. May he rest in peace.

Anonymous said...

I just found out about this site when my sister who lives in california now had posted it. So I wanted to see if anything about Mr. Morgan was on here. I worked for him for 14 yrs. I admired him for running his businesses and being there to make sure they were run right. I worked at all 3 of his buildings when needed. I started out cleaning and then dishwasher. I learned a lot from him and respect is what I got from him and gave back to him.

Anonymous said...

To the person who was "out defending this country". Wow you're an idiot. Holy hell.

Anonymous said...

I also worked for Bill Morgan as a cook in his Eastland diner. I found him to be a rude, obnoxious bully. He would scream at the kitchen workers in front of everyone. Made the little high school girl waitresses cry. Always understaffed at the diner because of a high turnover of employees. I quit without giving a 2 week notice and he tried to keep my paycheck. Can't remember what government dept. I called in the morning but they made a call and I got my paycheck in the afternoon.