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Former District Attorney Tom Morgan '54 ran twice for a seat on the Pennsylvania Appellate Court. During one run, he personally visited all 67 counties in his 1979 Mustang. He even stopped by the Phi Sig house once while campaigning.

Now, Brother Morgan is tapping away at a computer to capture some of his life stories for his children and grandchildren. In semi-retirement, Tom still does some legal work and plays a lot of bridge.

Cards have been a big part of his life going back to his days at Penn State. In the mid-1950s, the brothers played a lot of cards and darts, he said. Even after a half-century of card playing at a master level, he still remembers that Joe Reed '55 did the smartest thing he's ever seen anyone do in a card game. It happened during a pinochle match at the chapter house. Joe did something counterintuitive which caused his opponent to misjudge what Joe had in his hand.

Reed, now retired from Penn State, says he can't remember the move. He hasn't played pinochle since college, but said, "Tom [Morgan] was a really good card player. He was really quite a guy. We used to a pal around a lot and play a lot of cards, and talk about sports. I haven't seen him since 1972, probably. We played a lot of pinochle back then. We became very good. It's a man's game and being aggressive pays off."

The Philipsburg – Phi Sig Connection:

Brother Morgan said his connection to Phi Sigma Kappa came from his childhood in Philipsburg, PA, a town about 30 miles from State College.

"There were a couple of the brothers from Philipsburg, as I was," he said. "They were good friends. These were guys I grew up with. There's been a fair connection between Philipsburg and Phi Sig. I can think of at least four or five who were from Philipsburg and that's how I got there."
But even with his hometown connection to Phi Sig, he didn't rush the house right away.

"They came looking for me. I didn't even pledge until my junior year," Morgan said. "I just really didn't feel like it. There were a couple of other houses I had been asked to pledge, but had turned down. They [Phi Sigs] asked me to come on over and spend a couple of days there and that was it. Basically they felt they needed a couple of more pledges, and thought about me. At that time I was looking for an apartment."

Tom mentions Harry Carroll '54 and Jim Hancock '53 among those who were instrumental in his decision to pledge Phi Sig.

What was the long-term influence of the fraternity on his life since graduation?

"None at all," he said. "The influence that the house had over me was when I was in the house. I think it was positive. Being in the fraternity was good for me in a couple of ways. I think I learned how to dress a little better -- of course, when I got into politics that became much more important. I think it helped me learn about getting along with people, and I met some people that I really -- I don't know how to put it -- who were very good people."

Remembering Harry Sawyer '56

"The one person that I remember the most from the house -- and I would suppose anybody would say the same thing -- was Harry Sawyer '56, who was a legacy. He was elected president of the house as a sophomore. He was killed in an airplane crash at LaGuardia when we were in the late 20s. It was a major crash. The plane crashed in the swamps near LaGuardia as it was taking off. Everybody on board was killed. There was a fire. Closed casket."

"Harry was the kind of guy that everybody who knew him said that Harry was their best friend. We were going to room together and then decided not too. He was an extremely bright guy, an engineer. I would suppose -- after him and John Godfrey '54 -- that Harry Carroll '54 was probably as well like as anybody else.

Brother Morgan says he has been back to the chapter house in about a decade but he's still in touch with some brothers from his era.

"I see Leo Johnson '58, who was also a high school classmate and an architectural student for five years. He didn't pledge the house until probably his junior year. I saw Harry [Carroll] on and off after graduation. He helped me in some of my campaigns."

"After graduating from Penn State, I went to Penn law school and became a lawyer and then I went to work for the government, and then eventually came up to Clearfield to practice law and became district attorney in Clearfield County for two years. Twice I was Republican candidate statewide for the appellate court. Harry was vice president at H.J. Heinz for labor negotiations. I was trying to get some union support and he was trying to help me. It was a lot of fun. As a district attorney and in state politics I got to know a lot of people. It still is [fun] sometimes. Now, I'm a Republican state committeeman."

Tom Morgan married Anne, who taught nursing at the University of Pennsylvania, and they have three adult children.

Brothers may contact Tom Morgan at 814-765-6734.