Nov. 11, 1967 – Oct. 6, 2021
Resident of Walnut Creek
Professor John Morgan, 53, the Oliver E. and Dolores W. Williamson Chair of the Economics of Organization at the Haas School of Business, University of California at Berkeley, passed away suddenly on October 6, 2021, at his home in Walnut Creek, CA, after several years of poor health.
Professor Morgan was born Roy John Morgan, Jr., on November 11, 1967, in Wilkes-Barre, PA, to Diana Conniff (Williams) Morgan and Roy John Morgan, but everyone knew him as “John.” He grew up in Ashley, PA, and graduated from Hanover Area High School as valedictorian in 1985. He then earned a B.S. in economics from The Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania, summa cum laude, in 1989, and worked for the Bankruptcy and Forensic Accounting Group of Grant Thornton International for several years until he moved on to attend graduate school. He earned a Ph.D. in economics at The Pennsylvania State University in 1996.
John first landed an assistant professorship at Princeton University, where he spent six years with appointments at the economics department and the Woodrow Wilson School of Public Affairs. Following an academic year as a visiting scholar at the Hoover Institution at Stanford University, John accepted a tenured professorship at UC Berkeley. During his tenure of almost two decades, he was known for his quick wit, prolific research, innovative teaching, and tireless dedication to his students and the school. His course in game theory was one of the most popular at Haas. Other roles he served at the university were co-director of the Fisher Information Technology Center; founding director of the Experimental Social Sciences Laboratory (XLAB); a member of the California Management Review editorial board; and faculty director for Berkeley Executive Education. He was also a visiting fellow at Trinity College, University of Cambridge; an external fellow at The Cambridge University Judge Business School; and an academic external fellow at the University of Nottingham; as well as a former visiting scholar at Nuffield College, University of Oxford, and a former visiting scholar at the International Monetary Fund, Washington, DC.
John met Heather, his soul mate and wife of thirty years, while they were teens working at the Osterhout Free Library in Wilkes-Barre. (The quiet library could not suppress John’s love of conversation.) Both graduated from Penn, and they were married in Ashley in 1991. John was a loving and devoted husband to Heather and father to their son, Aidan. He had wide-ranging interests and a zest for life, and his hobbies became a series of overlapping obsessions: history, strategy games, golf, fountain pen collecting, the Boston Red Sox, the Oakland A’s, fantasy sports, photography and other arts, and the years-long Dungeons & Dragons campaign that he played with his son and friends. John almost always had a complicated board game set up ready to play on a table at home and a collection of baseball caps adorning the top of a telescope near his chair. The sparkle in his eyes and the enthusiastic smile on his face while he discussed topics of interest could light up the room.
John is survived by his wife Heather Ann (Evans) Morgan, Walnut Creek, CA; son, Aidan Theodore Morgan, a sophomore at the University of Oregon, Eugene; mother, Diana Williams Morgan, Wilkes-Barre; father, Roy John (Elayne) Morgan, Zephyr Hills, FL; brother, David W. (Julie) Morgan, Longwood, FL; aunt, Maxine F. Williams, Ashley; uncle, James E. Morgan, Blakeslee, PA; four nieces, two nephews, three siblings-in-law, and many good friends. John was predeceased by grandparents Hugh W. and Charlotte J. (Medallis) Williams of Ashley and Roy E. and Mary Parry (Morgan) Morgan of Forty Fort, PA, as well as parents-in-law, Dorothy Jean (Blaum) Evans Timek and Attorney Theodore A. Evans, Wilkes-Barre.
A memorial service was held on December 10 at The Haas School of Business, UC Berkeley, and a family memorial service, officiated by Reverend Rebecca Tanner, will be held on March 26 at Ashley Presbyterian Church, Ashley, Pennsylvania. John requested that his ashes be scattered at some of his favorite places, including Maui, Hawaii, and Fenway Park, home of the Boston Red Sox.
If you would like to honor John with a memorial donation, the family suggests the American Autoimmune Diseases Association (AARDA) or your favorite animal charity.
Published by East Bay Times on Mar. 20, 2022.