JESSE BRYON “JB” MORGAN JR. DIES

By LABTALK
JESSE BRYON “JB” MORGAN JR. PASSED AWAY JULY 19, 2019 AT AGE 91. HE WAS A VETERAN OF THE UNITED STATES ARMY, SERVED DURING THE KOREAN CONFLICT, OWNED AND MANAGED SEVERAL WHOLESALE OPTICAL LABORATORIES AND WAS A MEMBER OF FOUNTAIN CITY UNITED METHODIST CHURCH.

JB is preceded in death by his parents, Jesse Bryon Morgan, Sr. and Evelyn Holland Morgan; sister and brothers, Olivia Morgan Brown, Clarence Morgan and Dean Morgan. He is survived by his wife of 62 years, Willie Swan Morgan; brother and sister Neal (Jackie) Morgan and Betty (James) Law; children, Sandy Morgan, Jeff (Rene) Morgan and Susan (Andrew) Crawley; grandchildren, Brandi (Kenny) Smith, Morgan Crawley, Josh (Charlotte) Morgan, Johnny (Casie) Morgan and Jordan Crawley; great grandchildren, Kierstin Parson and Jaxson Morgan as well as many beloved nieces, nephews, cousins, in-laws, Glenwood NC school classmates and friends.

JB loved his family well, enjoyed his profession “making eyeglasses,” and filled a garage full of classic cars. In 1949, JB met Ray Odom who persuaded him to work for American Optical in Jacksonville, FL rather than return to his hometown of Marion, NC. After working in the Surface Department at AO, JB was drafted and served in Korea in the 31st Infantry Regiment on the fighting front.

In 1952, JB returned to American Optical and worked his way up to Assistant Manager while attending business college at night. JB also persuaded Willie Swan to be his wife and they were married in 1957. That same year, JB and two partners bought Peninsula Optical in Jacksonville, FL.

For 15 years, JB was instrumental in building Peninsula into a thriving progressive lab. In 1972, Peninsula was sold to Itek Corporation. One year to the day later, JB turned in his notice to Itek. The family moved to Tuxedo, NC where JB opened a General Store similar to the one his father owned in Glenwood. However, JB was soon lured back into the optical business to become General Manager for Wren Optical Labs in Augusta and Savannah, GA and Charleston, SC. He served in this capacity for eight years.

In 1982, JB and Willie visited the World’s Fair in Knoxville, TN and stopped by to visit Charlie Arnhart at Volunteer Optical. In 1983, JB purchased Volunteer Optical. JB worked until age 79 when he sold the business to Hoya Vision in 2007 and retired. JB was joined at Volunteer Optical by his three children, Jeff Morgan – Knoxville Laboratory General Manager, Sandy Morgan – ERP Manager/IT Specialist, and Susan Crawley – Director of Internal Audit & Compliance who continue to work for Hoya Vision.

JB leaves a wide legacy and impact on all who knew him. He was known for his honesty in business and love for people in all settings at home, work, church or travelling adventures. From the beginning, JB embraced technology, education, and networking in the optical industry. JB served as Lightbender President and OLA Director. He was also recognized as an OLA Pioneer Hall of Fame Inductee, Knoxville Enterpriser of the Month, TOA 2003 Public Service Award Winner, and Rodenstock Lab of the Year Owner.

In lieu of flowers donations may be made to Remote Area Medical (2200 Stock Creek Blvd. Rockford, TN 37853 or online at www.ramusa.org).

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Labtalk-December 2019