Bill Morgan, former public relations director for the Southwest Conference and noted Texas courthouse historian and artist, passed away February 19, 2021, at the age of 89. Always proud of being a fourth generation Texan, Bill was born in Laredo, Texas, and received a journalism degree from the University of Texas in 1953. He was sports editor for the Lufkin Daily News from 1953 to 1955, when he went to the Dallas Morning News as a sportswriter. In 1960, the fledgling Dallas Cowboys hired him away from the Morning News to work in their public relations department.
He worked for the Cowboys until 1965, when he went back to his first love, the newspaper business. He was on the city desk at the Fort Worth Star-Telegram in 1966, then worked the city desk and as a feature writer for Sunday Magazine with the Dallas Times Herald from 1966 to 1969. He left the Herald in 1969 to take a job as public relations director for the Southwest Conference, where he stayed until he retired in 1986.
While with the SWC, Bill regularly wrote for Dave Campbell's Texas Football magazine, which was, and still is, the Bible for football afficionados in Texas. On the magazine's 30th anniversary, Taylor Publishing released The Best of Dave Campbell's Texas Football in coffee table book format, covering the years 1960 to 1989. Of the 32 articles compiled as the "best" during that period, 6 were written by Bill.
During the time he worked for the SWC, Bill created and drew a syndicated comic strip called Sport Day, and he illustrated the NCAA football, basketball, and baseball rules books. In retirement, Bill continued to write, draw, and do public relations work. A tremendous artist, in the early '90s, he sketched old churches in Dallas County, researched their histories and architecture, and compiled them into a calendar for 1992 called Covenants on the Prairie.
Inspired by his elder daughter's law practice, he began researching and painting Texas county courthouses as a hobby, starting with Dallas County. Following the Covenants on the Prairie calendar, he put together a series of courthouse calendars for 1995 through 1999 based on his paintings and histories. He was approached by a Fort Worth publisher to turn the calendar subjects into a coffee table book, which resulted in the publication in 1999 of Old Friends: Great Texas Courthouses.
Bill is survived by his wife of 66 years LaVenia; son Eddie; and daughters Susan Farris (husband Mike) and Kelly Griffin (husband Jon and his children Alex Griffin (wife Stephanie) and Madison Griffin).
Memorials in Bill's name may be made to Friends of the Texas Historical Commission, P.O. Box 13497, Austin, TX 78711, https://www.thc.texas.gov/preserve/projects-and-programs/texas-courthouse-stewardship or your favorite animal welfare group/shelter.
Please join us for a Wake celebrating Bill: Saturday, May 15, 2:00-4:00, outside on the Luna Deck, Rockwall Golf & Athletic Club, 2600 Champions Drive, Rockwall, Texas. A wake because Bill wanted a party, NOT a funeral. We will share funny stories, favorite memories, and lots of laughs. Please be prepared to tell YOUR memories at the Wake. If you can not attend or if you suffer from stage fright, please email your story to email@example.com and we will read it at the party.
Bill Morgan: December 13, 1931- February 19, 2021