It is with great sadness that the Morgan Family announced the passing of Ed Morgan Jr. on June 14, 2015, in Lansing, Michigan. “Eddie” as he was known by many, was 75 years old. Morgan was a sixth generation harness horseman born in Piqua, Ohio and the son of Ed Morgan Sr. who was a leading driver in the 40’s and 50’s and a very successful trainer.
Following in the family footsteps, Eddie was a leading driver at age 22 at Scioto Downs in the 60’s and held numerous driving titles at tracks in Kentucky and Michigan. Audobon Raceway announcer Robin Burns dubbed Eddie “The Stunner” because he would get out late and win with longshots. Morgan had 4,724 wins and earnings of $7,689,479. He raced at tracks in Illinois, Iowa, Kentucky and Ohio ultimately settling in Michigan in the early 90’s. Morgan was inducted into the Michigan Harness Horseman’s Hall of Fame in 2008 for his tremendous achievements and dedication to the sport of harness racing.
Morgan not only was a successful trainer and driver, but he was an incredible mentor and teacher to many current national leading drivers. Tim Tetrick, Ronnie Wrenn Jr., Tony Morgan and Drew Monti are a just a few drivers who were influenced by him. His son, Tony Morgan won national dash winning titles in 1996, 1997, 2006, and 2008 and just won his 15,000th race in March. Tony recalls, “Some people thought Dad was setting horses up for those big wins, but that wasn’t it at all. Dad always raced to get money. He’d put the horses on the fence and sit. He wanted a good trip every time, and he wanted the horses to race forever. Every horse in the barn would get 40 starts a year. That’s the way he raced horses. That’s how he taught me to race horses.”
Tim Tetrick, also a national multiple winning dash driver, with 14 Breeders Crown Championship wins and winner of over 8,000 races said, “I was so sad to hear the passing of Eddie Morgan. From the time I was very little, Eddie always went out of his way to talk to me. He would listen and help me figure things out that I was struggling with and was never shy to tell me the truth. Most importantly, Eddie truly believed in me as a driver and because of him I learned to believe in myself. I consider Eddie and Tony Morgan to be family, and we send our condolences to them.”
Driver Ronnie Wrenn Jr., who was North American Dash title holder in 2013 and 2014 said, “Eddie was a mentor to me when I first started catch driving. He gave me the opportunity to drive a couple of nice horses when I wasn’t driving any power at the time. He stuck with me through good and bad drives and I always enjoyed our short talks in his truck before the races.” Wrenn raced two well-known class horses for Morgan. Pearl’s Johnny, 309 starts and pacing mare Quick Step; who still holds the track record at Hazel Park.
Eddie Morgan’s latest protégé is up and coming Buffalo driver 20 year old Drew Monti. Morgan sent his last few horses to the Monti family to race for him the past few years. Monti and Morgan teamed up with an old class horse named Ophiucus N for 12 wins that brought them much satisfaction. Monti stated, “Eddie was not only a great horseman, but a great friend. He had an influence on my career that is everlasting, and it was an absolute privilege to know him. He will be missed greatly.”
Famous track announcer Sam McKee recalled Morgan winning the US Pacing Derby for two-year-olds at Louisville Downs with a horse named Jake and Elwood. McKee stated, “Eddie always said he’d rather have a has been than a never would be. He was always good at patching together and racing old class horses.”
There will be a celebration of Eddie Morgan’s life from 1-5 pm Saturday, June 20 at Sharp Funeral Home 8138 Miller Rd Swartz Creek, Michigan. A second celebration will be held on Sunday, June 21 at the Miami County Fairgrounds, Troy, Ohio from 1-5 pm. Edward “Eddie” Morgan Jr was the son of Edward Sr. and Winifred (Davis) Morgan. He is survived by his wife of 48 years, Sharon (Palmer) of Leslie, MI and six children, Tony (Penny) of MD, Greg (Becky) of OH, Jenny and Joe of AL, Kathy Smith of MI, and Elizabeth (Robert) Morgan-Smith of WI along with brothers Charles (Dorothy) and Tom (Sue) of OH.
Morgan is survived by his best friends Margaret Rousseau and Penny Howard and numerous cherished friends. He is also survived by numerous grandchildren, nieces and nephews. He was preceded in death by his sister, Kathleen Morgan Garrett. The family wishes to extend a special thank you to Capital Cardiology of Lansing, MI and Dr. David Woltmann. Tributes may be shared on the obituaries page at www.sharpfuneralhome.com.