Overflow crowd attends services for firefighter John ‘Jay’ Morgan

VERO BEACH — Firefighter John “Jay” Morgan was remembered Tuesday as a devoted friend, loving son and lifelong sports fan in services attended by an overflow gathering at Trinity Episcopal Church.The casket carrying Morgan arrived at the church on board an Indian River County firetruck with members of Fire Rescue squads from throughout the Treasure Coast and Palm Beach County in attendance along the perimeter of the circular driveway. The 700-seat church was filled beyond capacity.Morgan, 46, died of cancer on Jan. 7. In tribute, St. Lucie County and Osceola County Fire Rescue personnel arrived in their firetrucks and Palm Beach County sent its pipe and drum corps. Friend Bob Gruber recalled Morgan, the son of PGA pro John Morgan, as an avid Red Sox fan, attending games at Fenway Park with his father and a diehard Miami Dolphins fan. However, he reserved his greatest devotion for the Florida Gators, even attending a Florida-Florida State game with an on-field pass.Gruber remember that in typical form his friend joked with him in a text after learning his cancer was terminal and he had three months to live that he could still see Florida quarterback Tim Tebow win a Heisman Trophy and his Gators win another national championship.

When that diagnosis became known, Morgan’s fellow firefighters began to cover his workshifts so he could spend more time with his family and held a charity golf tournament, raising $6,000.

As the gathering at the church proved, Morgan was a friend to many, including serving as a mentor to Cody Blanton through the Youth Guidance Program. He was often seen around town in the company of his mother Barbara “Pinky” Morgan, Gruber recalled.Morgan also leaves 3 sisters, Laura, Beth and Jill Morgan.Memorial contributions may be made to the IRC Firefighters Association, 1818 Commerce Avenue, Vero Beach, FL 32960.

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