Bryan Lee Morgan, 79, passed away on March 19, 2022, in Lecanto, FL, from ALS.
Bryan had a zest for life and learning, with an innate curiosity about a wide variety of hobbies and passions. He loved family, music, woodworking, and fishing, to name a few.
Bryan was born the first child of Richard and Edna Morgan on June 11, 1942, in Austin, MN. He grew up in a farming community, riding his horse to a one-room schoolhouse, trapping along the way for spending money. Bryan graduated from Austin High School in 1959. He loved fishing, taking numerous trips to northern Minnesota before and after the creation of the BWCA.
Bryan was an all-around athlete playing rugby and baseball in college, leading to a minor league baseball opportunity. He continued playing and coaching softball in his adult years. Bryan had a love for the water, swimming competitively in high school and later sailing competitively and for pleasure for many years on Lake Superior.
With encouragement from his musical and artistic father, Bryan began a life-long love of music. His strong voice led to church solos at a young age. In high school, he joined his first band.
Bryan attended college at the University of Minnesota-School of Forestry, where he met fellow forester and soon-to-be musical and business partner Charlie Jirousek. His love of the outdoors had him working for the US Forest Service out of Ely, MN.
Bryan served in the US Army from 1966 to 1968 during the Vietnam War. Like many veterans of that war, he struggled to find peace and reconciliation. He found healing, working with his hands. He became an accomplished luthier (builder of stringed instruments) and award-winning furniture maker.
Bryan’s musical career spanned early rock and roll, the resurgence of folk music, and the rediscovery of Delta blues. He was well-known for his 12-string blues and barrelhouse music, performed with long-time friend and musical partner Charlie Jirousek. Bryan and Charlie were partners at Arrowhead Music in Duluth, MN, working together to build custom guitars. Their last musical collaboration was as the opening act for Leon Redbone in Superior, WI.
Bryan was a jack-of-many trades, with stories to tell about each work experience. He was (in no particular order) a farmer, trapper, luthier, stevedore, plant manager, engraver, electrician, carpenter, director of housekeeping, machinist, musician, security guard, soldier, gunsmith, handyman, photographer, forester, and mechanic. He engraved panels for Apollo space missions. He built custom guitars for musicians, including Bob Dylan.
Bryan with his future wife Lucy in Duluth, MN, over a shared passion for fishing and the outdoors. Their first date was steelhead fishing on Lake Superior, followed by an ice fishing tournament. They became inseparable life partners, marrying in 1985. Their adventures took them on numerous fishing trips to the BWCA and the Florida Keys. With their passion for sailing, Bryan and Lucy left the Duluth area in 1988 and sailed to Florida via the Great Lakes and the Intercoastal Waterway on their 26-foot sailboat Kestrel II, settling in the Fort Myers, FL, area.
Bryan and Lucy’s adventures continued in 1994 when they moved to Colorado. Family has fond memories of panning for gold and treasure-hunting with Bryan in the mountains and streams of Colorado. But their love of Florida called them back there full-time in 2017.
Bryan was most proud of his role as dad to his three children, with Marnie (Morgan) Anderson, and grandpa to eight grandchildren and four great-grandchildren. He loved sharing his hobbies with them and cherished the time spent with each of them.
Bryan is preceded in death by his parents, great-grandson Carter Cadigan, and the mother of his children, Marnie Anderson.
Bryan is survived by his wife Lucy, children Rebecca (John) Selleck, Matthew (Naomi) Morgan, and Cassie (Dan) Morgan-Doran, grandchildren, Elissa Selleck, Tyler (Kaitie) Selleck, Nicholas Selleck, Alex Morgan, Emily Morgan, Morgan Cadigan, Hailey (Dylan) (Cadigan) Clark, and Charles C. Cadigan, and great-grandchildren, Stella Selleck, and Sylas Clark, sisters Joy (Mark) Dey, Meridee (Charlie) Watt, and brothers Ross (Joy) Morgan , Mark (Karen) Morgan, and Tim (Shirley) Morgan, along with numerous nieces, nephews, and in-laws.
Private cremation will take place under the direction of Brown Funeral Home and Crematory in Lecanto, FL. Family will be receiving friends from 12 noon until 2 pm on Friday March 25, 2022 at the funeral home. In lieu of flowers, memorials to ALS.org in Bryan’s memory.
Published by Citrus County Chronicle on Mar. 23, 2022.