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Rosa Morgan, photographer and researcher, dies at age 90

Post by Peter Callaghan / The News Tribune on June 12, 2009 at 12:01 pm with No Comments »
June 12, 2009 12:01 pm

Rosa Morgan died Monday. She had been frail for the last several years of her life but had been able to remain at home with the help of caregivers until shortly before she died.


Rosa was part of a partnership with her husband Murray – one of those teams where the names were rarely mentioned alone. It was nearly always Murray and Rosa.


According to daughter Lane Morgan, she was born two days before the end of World War I and first saw her future husband while she was playing the violin at age 14 in the Universalist Church in Tacoma. Murray was the young son of the minister and they married six years later in 1939. For a honeymoon, they went to Europe and kayaked down the Danube River.


It was her first time east of the Cascade Mountains and must have been a magical journey – until they were detained briefly in Romania after Germany invaded Poland. The authorities thought they were spies.


Rosa helped Murray research his books on history and culture and was his essential editor. She sometimes sat in on his graduate courses at Columbia so he could work three jobs. She studied photography under Man Ray in New York and once photographed Diego Rivera from his scaffold while she and Murray lived in Mexico.


Their homes on Trout Lake and Harstene Island were centers of conversation and debate for many dinner guests over many years.


Murray died in 2000.


Rosa later received a degree in English from the University of Washington and was a reference librarian at Pacific Lutheran University. She was active in Democratic politics, the peace movement and the League of Women Voters. She insisted on voting for Barack Obama – in person at the polls – last November.


Lane encourages those who want to share stories about Rosa to visit the website of the funeral home.

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