William M. Morgan

William, 64, passed away Oct. 27, 2008, at Rogue Valley Medical Center. Known to his friends and family as Bill, he was the founder of Southern Oregon Pottery & Supply (SOPS) in Talent, where he was the familiar face behind the counter for almost 30 years.

A southerner, Bill was born on July 6, 1944, in Knoxville, Tenn. He was raised in Pennsylvania and Tennessee but met (and eloped with!) Bonnie when they were both working as VISTA community organizers during the '70s in Nebraska. He was a great supporter of veterans' rights, first working in VA hospitals in Tennessee and Portland, where he started the first hospital-based home health care program. Bill also worked as an administrator at the VA Domiciliary in White City. His son, Charlie, was born in 1985, in Ashland.

Influenced by his wife, who was the clay artist of the family, Bill welcomed the chance to start a business delving into the material side of ceramics, providing a wealth of knowledge and support for potters of all abilities. Bill was always patient, generous, kind, and easily amused. He loved to talk politics; although he did not live to see Election Day 2008, one of his last gestures was to mail in his ballot.

Bill lost the struggle with CMT (Charcot-Marie-Tooth) disease, which is a neurological illness that causes deterioration of the peripheral nerves. Yet, his wit and strength still echo in many lives, and especially in the hearts of his wife, Bonnie, and twenty-three-year-old son, Charlie.

Bill's death comes ironically one month after the closing of SOPS, which Bonnie had been running after Bill retired a few years ago. For ceramic artists, the image of Bill paging through SOPS's gigantic supply book will stay with us. He was the wise man behind the counter, the supporter of our imaginations, and a good friend.

In addition to his wife and son, Bill is survived by his mother, Joy M. Morgan, of Medford; and his brothers and sister-in-laws, Frank and Thirza Morgan, of Portland, Ore., and Glenn and Jennifer Morgan, of Agoura, Calif.

If you would like to honor Bill, you may make a donation in his memory to The Charcot-Marie-Tooth Association at 2700 Chestnut Parkway, Chester, PA 19013.