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Loran B. Morgan

Modified: Friday, Nov 27th, 2009

Loran B. Morgan

October 14, 1918 - November 23, 2009

Memorial services with Military Honors for Loran B. Morgan, M.D., 91, will be held Saturday, Nov. 28, at 1 p.m. at the First Wyoming United Presbyterian Church with Reverend Steven Seng officiating. “Doc” Morgan died on Nov. 23 at Community Hospital in Torrington. Burial will follow at Valley View Cemetery in Torrington. Memorials can be made to the Western History Center Youth Program at 2308 US HWY 26 Lingle, WY 82240. Arrangements are under the direction of the Colyer Funeral Home and friends are invited to send condolences to the family at www.colyerfuneralhome.com.

Sand greens and sagebrush made golf even tougher than it had to be according to Dr. Loran B. (Bud) Morgan. In the early 1950s, Bud made daily summer visits to Torrington’s golf course where he and a few buddies arranged a well and started the first grass green (hole No. 3). Bud’s work on the burgeoning Torrington Wyoming golf course is only a small part of his rich and varied legacy.

He was born in Pipestone, Minn., Oct. 14, 1918, the fourth of five children born to William Towner Morgan and Mabelle Courtenay (Brown) Morgan. Loran grew up next door to his grandparents, Warrington B. Brown and Mary Halliday Brown. He had fond lifelong memories of his grandfather, a Civil War veteran, who died when Loran was a freshman in college. Bud was valedictorian of the Class of 1936, Pipestone High School, where he succeeded in sports and academic achievement. Upon graduation, he entered the University of Minnesota where he graduated in 1940 with two bachelor degrees in premedicine.

After graduating from medical school, he began his internship at St. Luke’s Hospital in Denver, Colo., where he met a nurse from Torrington, Elizabeth (Beth) Ashburn, whom he married in 1944. Upon completion of his internship, Bud joined the U.S. Army and eventually became a paratrooper and a battalion surgeon with the 17th Airborne. He made several combat jumps into Europe. In 1945 he parachuted into Germany, with the 17th’s Operation Varsity, setting up an aide station to treat the wounded. For his heroism, he earned the Bronze Star.

Upon discharge, he had achieved the rank of Major. For the rest of his life, Bud kept in contact with his fellow soldiers and attended annual airborne reunions.

Following the war, Bud set up his first medical practice in Gilman, Colo., where he ran a hospital to treat zinc-mining personnel. As the only physician in two counties, he made hazardous mountain runs by car and private airplane to serve that region’s scattered population. It was the need to treat remote patients that drove him to his passion of flying. After his experience in Gilman, Bud moved to Torrington where he pursued a long career as a general practitioner with the Torrington Medical Group. In 1957, he returned to the UMN to complete a degree in ophthalmology.

During the Vietnam War, Bud volunteered for four terms of service in Vietnam where he treated Vietnamese civilians, many of whom suffered eye burns. From that experience, he invented an eye-irrigation device called the Morgan Lens, an instrument now used throughout the world for treating eye injuries. A longtime member of the American Legion, Bud served one year as a Wyoming State Commander. His upbringing and military knowledge gave him a deep sense of love of country. Doctor Morgan was a member of the First Wyoming United Presbyterian Church and a life member of Travis Snow Post No. 5 of the American Legion in Torrington.

Doc Morgan is survived by his loving wife of 65 years, Beth, of Torrington, daughter, Beth Bowens and her husband Bo of Lakewood, Colo., and his son Dan Towner Morgan of Missoula, Mont., five grandchildren, Lyndsey, Zachary, Mariah, James, and Ryan, and a brother William Towner Morgan of Sartell,Minn. He was preceded in death by his parents, his brothers, W. Stannard Morgan and George Alan Morgan, his sister, Courtenay Morgan Forman, and daughter-in-law Pam Morgan.

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