James Harlan Morgan, 96, of Big Spring, TX went home to his Heavenly Father on Monday, January 9, 2023. Harlan was born May 31, 1926, in Putnam, TX to Willie (Leveridge) and J.T. Morgan. Harlan spent his younger years growing up around west Texas in places such as Cisco, Scranton, Throckmorton and eventually settled in Big Spring, TX. Harlan loved playing football for the Big Spring Steers (and was pretty good at it too from what we hear). One of Harlan’s greatest journeys in life was enrolling in the U.S. Navy when he was just 17 years old to defend our country in WWII in the Central Pacific on the USS North Carolina (BB-55) in 1943.
If you knew Harlan, until he took his last breath, he had his USS North Carolina hat on which speaks volumes on how proud he was to serve this country. After the Navy, he enrolled and graduated from Hardin-Simmons University in Abilene, TX. He met his future wife, Gertibell (“G.B.”) Wilkerson of Big Spring and they were married in May of 1949 and later had two daughters Janis and Carol. Harlan worked with the then Standard of Texas (now Chevron) in Westbrook, Snyder, Houston, Denver, and Midland where he ultimately retired after the passing of his wife G.B. in June of 1984. He remarried in 1985 to Margaret Rodgers who passed away in February of 2007. In October of 2007, Harlan was blessed a third time to marry Barbara “Babs” Moore in Big Spring, TX. Harlan was a longtime member of St. Luke’s United Methodist Church in Midland, as well as First Baptist Church in Big Spring. Harlan never knew a stranger. He looked at life and people in such a positive light. The kindest man ever who was always glad to tell a corny joke, swap an old Navy story or just happy to have a good cup of hot coffee and talk Longhorn or Cowboy football and sports in general. He will be missed, but we know he’s catching up with the family and friends who are no longer here with us.
Harlan is survived by his wife, Babs Moore Morgan of Big Spring; his daughter Janis King and husband Gary of Midland; his daughter Carol Sledge of Houston; his granddaughter Whitney King McKee and husband Sam, great grandson Jack and great granddaughter Morgan of Midland; his grandson Aaron Morgan King and wife Sara, great grandsons Zachary and Pierce of Seabrook, his sister Mary Beth Tarter of Roswell, along with nieces, nephews, cousins and other family members and friends, including Gary and Michelle Moore, Gayle Abbott and Bob Brewer.
Harlan is preceded in death by his parents, younger brothers John Ray and W.T. Morgan, his first wife and mother of his daughters, G.B. and his second wife Margaret.
Harlan’s family would like to thank the loving caregivers at Parkview Nursing and Rehabilitation Center in Big Spring for their kindness to him and for taking such great care of him. You all made his day happy with your smiles, your encouragement, and your hearts (and always when you made him pancakes for breakfast).
Visitation will be held on January 13, 2023, at Nalley-Pickle & Welch Funeral Home located at 906 Gregg Street in Big Spring. A Celebration of Harlan’s Life will be held in the Chapel of First Baptist Church of Big Spring at 705 W FM 700, Big Spring, TX 79720 at 11:00 a.m., Saturday, January 14, 2023, with the burial at Mount Olive Memorial Park at 1701 N HWY 350, Big Spring, TX 79720 immediately following. Naval Honors will be provided by Goodfellow Air Force Base.
In lieu of flowers, the family asks that contributions in Harlan’s honor be made to First Baptist Church of Big Spring or Wounded Warrior Project.
Arrangements are under Nalley-Pickle & Welch Funeral Home & Crematory of Big Spring. Online condolences can be made at www.npwelch.com
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