The Employers Health team and Board of Directors were saddened during the 2016 holiday break to learn that one of our own had died in a tragic accident. Larry Morgan, a longtime board member and advocate of Employers Health, was involved in an ATV accident on December 28, 2016 on his rural Pennsylvania land where he spent many weekends and holidays doing what he loved most; hunting, fishing and spending time with his family.
A renowned educator, having served as teacher, treasurer, district superintendent and ultimately, county superintendent, Larry served on the Employers Health Board of Directors from January 1, 1994 until his death. Larry is the longest serving board member since Employers Health’s inception in 1983 and served as chairman of the board from 2000-2015. The immediate past chairman at the time of his death, Larry was recognized with the William K. Wilson Service Award from Employers Health in 2016. Known for shunning public recognition, Larry was presented the award at a board meeting rather than at our symposia or annual meeting for hundreds to observe. In his humble way, Larry accepted the award but shared the recognition with others.
Larry was a savvy educator, business man and trailblazer with his many innovative strategies around collaboration, especially as they related to group health insurance. During his 52-year career, Larry is best known throughout Ohio for his twenty-year post as Superintendent of the Stark County Education Service Center, a position from which he retired in 2015 but remained a consultant until his death. Under his leadership, numerous cooperative programs were created to leverage the buying power of nearly 100 school districts. Larry is credited with the founding of the Stark County Council of Government insurance program. Today, the Stark COG provides high-quality, cost-effective insurance benefits to more than 50,000 people. Among his numerous accomplishments, Larry was instrumental in saving R.G. Drage Career Technical Center from bankruptcy by serving as the organization’s superintendent for just a $1 salary.
While he preferred to work behind the scenes, Larry was recognized often throughout his career. In 2016, he received the United Way of Greater Stark County Gold Key in Education Award.
Larry had a lot of unusual sayings, often referred to by the Employers Health team who knew him well as “Morganisms.” Such sayings were usually words of wisdom. If Larry were in a board meeting or meeting with one of the Employers Health executives, he might start his assertion with, “I’m just a dumb coal miner from Pennsylvania but…” And everyone knew differently; he was smart like a fox. We will miss his “Morganisms,” but most importantly, we will miss his friendship and loyalty to the organization. As a tribute to Larry’s memory, an oil painting of Larry will hang in the new Employers Health offices scheduled to open in June 2017.
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