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SLOAN COLUMN: Remembering my dear friend Ann

on Monday, 11 July 2022. Posted in Columns, Local News

Bob Sloan Editor

          It’s been a little more than a month and I already miss her dearly.

     Archie Ann “Fred” Hatchell Morgan was without question one of the most interesting, quirkiest, talented, opinionated, cantankerous, spunky, generous, loving, and faithful people I have ever known. The Good Lord made only one Ann Morgan. One was more than enough and I miss her dearly.

     Ann’s heart, as big and caring as it was, finally gave out on June 5. She was a glorious 86 years old and had lived nearly each and every moment to the fullest.

          Ann’s friends and loved ones gathered last week in the library of her hometown of Society Hill for a drop-in memorial service. To no one’s surprise it was well attended. Miss Ann touched many lives.

         The memorial was hosted by Ann’s three adult children, Merry, Holli, and Trey. They did a great job putting it together. It included many of their mom’s favorite foods – pimento cheese and cucumber finger sandwiches, scones, and caramel cake. To drink there was punch and cups of tea. Ann loved to drink tea. She traveled extensively and collected teapots from all over the world. Several of them were on display at the memorial.

         One of her dear friends, Gladys Premo, played the piano at the memorial. Ann played the piano, but probably not as well as Gladys. She had a baby grand piano in her living room that she played on occasion. Every time I brought the kids with me to visit, Ann would tell them she was going to teach them how to play. Interestingly enough, Ann never told me she was going to teach me how to play. Did I mention that Ann had great intuition and was very wise?

        On another table at the memorial was a guest book. Those attending were encouraged to write a loving note or share a favorite memory of Ann. Also on the table were a handful of her favorite books. At the center of the table was a pamphlet explaining “Little Free Libraries.” Ann’s children decided a fitting way to honor their mother, a voracious reader and a huge supporter of the town library, was to establish a

     “Little Free Library” in her honor. Ann’s friend Hugh donated several books that he knew were some of her favorites to get the project started.

       Every time I would visit her, Ann would ask if I had read a certain book. If I said no, she would immediately tell me I needed to borrow it. She would then proceed to search for it, which invariably proved to be a lengthy ordeal. Ann had numerous built-in bookcases in her house. She also had books stacked on the floor. It would sometimes take her 10 to 15 minutes to locate the book. Other times the hunt would end in futility.

         Back to the memorial. A projector was set up in a back room at the library to show a tribute in photos from Ann’s life. I only knew Ann while she was in her 80s. To see her in her 20s and 30s was quite a revelation. I must say, the lady was a real “looker.” I suspect she had a “fireball” personality back then as well.

       In one corner sat a rocking chair. It was Ann’s favorite. Holli sat a sunbonnet in the chair to make sure no one sat in “Momma’s chair.”

    All in all, it was an ideal way to remember a most unique lady who did things her way. Ann would have loved it. I could feel her spirit the whole time I was there.

    There are many things I could tell you about Ann that made her the endearing lady I loved so much. Here are just a few.

     She was one of the few, very few, people in this world who still called me “Bobby.” She once introduced me to someone by saying, “Oh, and this is Pastor Bobby.” I had to work very hard to suppress a grin at that one.

      Ann’s son, Trey, and a friend took to calling her “Fred” while they were in their teens. It was in fun, of course, but for whatever reason it stuck.

      Her daughter, Merry, was the only one that could explain her mysterious first name of Archie. Merry said she did not know it was her mom’s real first name until she was in her teens.

      “I went out to get the mail one day and there was a letter addressed to Archie,” Merry recalled. “I was about to throw it away, when she snatched it out of my hands and said ‘No you don’t. That belongs to me.’ I told her there was no one here by the name of Archie. She leaned over and whispered in my ear, ‘My real name is Archie, but don’t tell anyone.’”

     I assumed she was named after her grandfather or an uncle, since I knew her dad’s name was Roy. Merry explained that she was named after her grandmother - yes, grandmother – who was also named Archie.

      Merry has a daughter. Her name is Archanna, a combination of Archie and Ann.

        Shortly after meeting Ann for the first time I learned to avoid the subject of politics at all cost. She was a true red-blooded American. And by red I mean GOP – Grand Old Party – Republican Red. She was about as ultra right-wing conservative as they come. She spent years working politics at the state and federal levels. She began her political involvement with the Young Republicans in Palm Beach County, Fla. during Sen. Barry Goldwater’s presidential campaign in 1964. In the 1970s she served as a State Executive Committee Woman and was a trailblazing female candidate for the S.C. Senate. She later worked for the administrations of S.C. Gov. James B. Edwards. And later at the federal level under President Reagan. If you got Ann started on politics, don’t plan on walking away any time soon.

      Ann was unafraid to share her political beliefs, be they solicited or unsolicited. She once told me, and I quote, that “all Democrats are going to hell.” Did I mention she was opinionated? You sometimes had to take Ann with a grain of salt. Better yet, just do your best to steer the conversation away from politics.

      Nearly every time I visited Ann I learned something new about her. Her experiences. Her travels. Her many, many talents. She was so many things - a debutante and a tomboy, a refined lady and great gal, a social butterfly and a domestic goddess. I do believe there was very little Ann had not done or seen.

      Among those sharing a story about Ann at her memorial was Society Hill Mayor Dwayne Duke. He said it was Ann’s inspiration that helped him become mayor. During last year’s town election, Duke was caught up in a crazy mayoral race with incumbent Tommy Bradshaw. Many people told him he should withdraw from the race because he was splitting the vote. He asked Ann for her thoughts and, in no uncertain terms, she told him, “Don’t listen to them. If you want to run for mayor, then run for mayor.” He chose to listen to Ann rather than the others and it proved to be the right decision.

       Her faith in God was an inspiration to me. She knew she was not perfect and needed Jesus. She prayed often and loved to recite scripture. She tithed what she could. One of the last conversations she and I had was on the “Portals of Heaven.”   “Portals of Heaven” are openings where angels travel between heaven and earth. She believed they existed and was quite convincing in her argument.

       If there are such things as “Portals of Heaven,” Archie Ann “Fred” Hatchell Morgan would know. Many saw her as an angel sent down from heaven. I know I certainly did.

Contact Editor Bob Sloan at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

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