Bruce F. Morton, of Efland, NC passed away on March 4, 2018 after a brief struggle with cancer. He died at peace, surrounded by his family. Bruce was 79 years old, a month away from his 80th birthday and had lived an active life of great health until just a few months his passing.
Since his birth, April 10 in 1938 in Marion, NC, Bruce played many roles - faithful son, loving father, grandfather, husband, child advocate, student, coach, teacher, principal, music aficionado, accomplished golfer, avid snowboarder, and man of Faith. In all these roles, Bruce incorporated a combination of selflessness, discipline and love. Bruce believed in details and in fundamentals - be it his daily study of the Bible, the nuanced first step an offensive guard must make once the football is snapped, or the perfect mix of love and patience needed to be an incomparable father to some - and a father figure to countless more.
The son of Vernon (a revered Methodist minister), and Jennie Raye Morton (an equally accomplished English teacher), Bruce attended McDowell High School in Marion and graduated in 1956. He played several sports at Marion High, most notably football. When he entered UNC-Chapel Hill in 1957, he walked on to the football team, but his playing career was cut short due to injuries. His football coaching career, was just underway. Also at this time, Bruce’s lifelong love of great music blossomed. His collection of hundreds of vinyl records passed down to his children show a wide range of genres like gospel, R&B, jazz and folk.
After graduating with Bachelor’s and Master’s Degrees from UNC-CH in 1961, he met and married the love of his life, Rachel Dailey, who was a fellow teacher. From 1961 through 1976, Bruce taught math and coached football at Greensboro Senior High (now Grimsley), West Rowan High, Pinecrest High and finally, back to Greensboro Grimsley in 1970 (all NC schools). At that time GSH was the largest high school in North Carolina and was an early experiment in racial integration. Bruce was proud to be an early proponent of integration on his football, basketball and track teams. He was a pioneer in this important movement, though it was not universally supported at the time.
In 1976, Bruce retired from coaching football and he and Rachel moved the family (Heather, Holly and Scott) to a horse farm in Love Joy (Near Troy, NC) where he was named vice principal at West Montgomery High, and later head principal at Troy Middle School. After several years happily supporting his family’s endeavors in competitive horse riding, his wife Rachel was killed in an auto accident in 1983. Bruce survived this tragedy, raised his children on his own, and somehow maintained his profession as principal. He served as principal at Elkin High School (NC), Carroll County Intermediate (VA), and Patrick County High School (VA), retiring in North Carolina after 29 years and in Virginia after 13 years. Upon retirement, he moved back to Elkin to continue as a math tutor for another 10 years, and finally settled in Efland, NC to live in a house beside his oldest daughter, Heather.
Bruce has always been an active member of church everywhere he has lived and was devout man of Faith. He went about his life and his work through the Lord’s teachings and sought to serve God wherever he was needed, be it tutoring underprivileged children, or as a missionary at the local prison.
Since 1990, Bruce took in more than 50 foster children and adopted three young boys, Tito, Collin and David who have since become self-reliant, young men leading productive lives. He found a new calling as a child advocate, and walked the walk every day. Bruce’s positive effect on the lives of young people was exceeded only by his lofty purpose - to provide an abundant future for those who may not have one.
Bruce is survived by his daughters Heather Morton of Efland, NC and Holly Sullivan of Camden, SC, his son, Scott of Vienna, VA and his sons, Tito Estrada-Morton and David Morton, both of Winston Salem, NC and Collin Morton of Salt Lake City, UT. His sister Ramona lives in Taylorsville, NC with her husband of more than 50 years, Donald Clapp.
Bruce’s impact was far reaching, his interests far afield, and his work far from over. He’ll be missed greatly but his legacy endures in the lives of those that were blessed to have known him.
Funeral Services will be held at Lamb’s Chapel, at 3pm on Friday, March 9. The family will receive friends immediately following the service. Lamb’s Chapel is located at 415 Roxboro Road, Haw River, NC.
In lieu of flowers, to honor the legacy of Bruce Morton, a child advocate and a steadfast proponent of adoption, his family asks that donations of any amount be made to one of these worthy charities in Bruce’s name; The Adoption Exchange Association (AEA) - The country's premier national network of adoption professionals. To make a donation, visit the website at https://donatenow.networkforgood.org/brucemorton; or to The Mustard Seed Ministry – A ministry for underprivileged youth grow through tutoring, crafts and Bible Stories (part of the Lamb’s Chapel). Mail donations to Mustard Seed Ministry, 3539 Alamance Rd, Burlington, NC 27215 (donation checks payable to “The Lamb’s Chapel”; on memo line add “Mustard Seed Ministries in memory of Bruce Morton”)
Rich and Thompson Funeral Home and Crematory in Graham is assisting the family.