San Diego has lost its premier chronicler, a red-haired transplant who came here as a young sailor in the 1940s and became the most respected journalist in the city he called a “stumblebum with character.”
Through his long career, Neil Morgan tried to figure out what it meant to be a Westerner, a Californian, a San Diegan. He sought to understand what makes us different and why so many Americans are drawn to the Golden State, a place filled with flim and flam, opportunity and ruin, beauty and disaster.
Toward the end of his life, Morgan boldly took aim at the city establishment he’d so eagerly joined. After being sacked by the local paper after a 54-year career, he helped create a small but mighty news organization — this one — designed to shine a light on the city’s darkest corners and help San Diego become a better place.
Morgan died Feb. 1 at his La Jolla home at the age of 89.