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Jack Morton was an accidental Montanan. He visited by chance and made his home here by choice. Born Dec. 13, 1930 to Dr. John and Nina Morton in Portland, Ore., Jack grew up with his sister Joanne, spending time near the Oregon Coast. He moved with his family to Billings when his father served a one-year assignment as Dean of Students at Eastern Montana College.

Jack attended Senior High School, where he met and fell in love with Lois Morgan. He was separated from his sweetheart when his family returned home to California, but Jack and Lois were determined. After graduation from Hollywood High in 1948, Jack returned to Montana to join Lois, and they were married in 1949.

Jack built a remarkable success story, climbing the ranks of Ryan's IGA, eventually designing stores throughout Montana and Wyoming. Jack and Lois were blessed with three children: Sherina, John and Scotty. They enjoyed weekly date nights, and they loved socializing with the large, extended Morgan family. It is rumored that Jack was a master card player, whose brilliant mind gave him an edge in all things mathematical. Sadly, a tragic car accident cut that short; Jack sustained very serious injuries, and Lois passed away. With the support of numerous friends and family and with his children by his side, Jack began to recover. He focused on being the best grandpa he could be, reading to his granddaughters, Gina and Kari, to the point of exhaustion and always agreeing to one more game of Uno.

Jack retired from IGA in 1983 a self-made man. That same year, he attended a dance and had the good fortune to meet Velta, who became his wife a short time later, and who, at the end of his earthly journey, still made his eyes light up when she held his hand. Together, Jack and Velta enjoyed traveling to visit family and friends, especially his granddaughter Leta in Denver, and they rarely missed a Morgan family reunion at Hebgen Lake. Jack enjoyed weekly breakfast with his daughter, Sherina, and he will be missed at Sunday morning coffee. Surely somewhere he'll be holding his own coffee klatch where there is no shortage of mixed nuts and there are extra helpings of dessert.

Jack is survived by his wife, Velta; his children, Sherina and Rick McIntyre of Billings and John and Anita Morton of Aurora, Colo.; his grandchildren, Gina and Shane Colton, Kari and Barrett Kaiser, all of Billings, and Leta and Jake Woods of Denver; by Sue and James Halligan, Rich and Lori Bell, and Ray and Joyce Bell and their families, all of Billings. Jack will be also missed by the Morgan clan: Dan, Phyllis and Art, Bob and Claudia, Gwennie, and Pat and their families.

A graveside service will be held on Friday, April 8, at 1 p.m. at Mountview Cemetery in Billings. In lieu of flowers, memorials may be made to the Billings Senior Citizens Center.

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