By Margaret Morton and Cate Magennis Wyatt
Since his death on October 26 at Winchester Medical Center, tributes have poured into the Middleburg community from friends and colleagues of the late Dan Morrow, publisher of theMiddleburg Eccentric.
He was born in Monroe NC. He attended the University of Virginia, graduating with a master’s degree in Modern European History. He was preceded in death by his parents Mary Elizabeth Morrow and Daniel Carter Monroe, his wife Glenda Sharon Morrow and his step-son Alex Cudaback. He is survived by his sister Mary Carter Burnette, his daughter-in-law Maggie Cudaback and his grandson Finn.
As his sister said this week, “he was a good guy, he was one of a kind.” Six years younger than Dan, she said he was always supportive, callimg him “my rock” when her husband died.
Gregarious in nature, with wide-ranging interests—from conservation, fishing, kayaking and hiking to history, philosophy and religion—there seemed no end Morrow’s to involvement with the world—and people—around him. A fluent writer, his prose was never dull—leading some to smart from his pointed remarks.
A newspaperman of long standing, including at theWashington Post, Whitney Communications Newspaper Division, MD, the Village Companies in Chapel Hill, NC, he was also the founding Executive Director and Chief Historian for the Computerworld Smithsonian Awards and Computerworld Honors programs.
Morrow closed a distinguished career when he became publisher of the Middleburg Eccentric, a lively new publication started by Dee Dee Hubbard and her son Jay Hubbard, named for the community it embodies.
In the 16 years the trio was in partnership,EccentricEditor Chief Dee Dee Hubbard said “Dan had an amazing way of cutting through the chaff by asking a pointed question to get to the truth of a matter. Always a gentleman, a scholar and ready for a good debate.”
When they started the paper, they looked for someone to strengthen their editorial endeavors. After talking with Morrow, they found “he was a perfect fit with the direction we wanted to take the paper.”
Each month, Morrow wrote the Middleburg Town Council Report, providing input and insight to the editorial section of the paper.
“He will be greatly missed and always remembered for all he did,” she said.
In the latter position, Morrow cut a larger-than-life figure in the community, often penning editorial commentary on political and civic topics with one eye on history and the other on the plight of the common citizen.
Morrow often ruffled official feathers, cheerfully butting heads with those in pubic office. Like a terrier, there was no “bone” in the garden he was not interested in digging up, but his prose was never malicious.
Former Middleburg Mayor Betsy Davis remembered Morrow’s care for the town and the community. She once teased him he should be an investigative reporter. “He could be quite blunt and ferocious—but his bark was always worse than his bite.”
Current Middleburg Mayor, Trowbridge “Bridge” Littleton, said that while Morrow “reveled” in being somewhat of a gadfly, he also was a “true champion for the little guy.” He recalled Morrow’s great human touch, calling him his “mentor,” recalling the hours the two men spent in conversation—on subjects ranging from world history to philosophy to biology. “He challenged me to think on deeper levels and to see different perspectives.”
Long associated with Middleburg area affordable housing projects through the Windy Hill Foundation, Kim Hart knew Morrow from years back when he served on the that organization’s board. “Like all great newspaper people, Dan was a sceptic at heart—from religion to the profane, but always with a joyful heart.” Like Littleton, Hart remembered Morrow as “a wonderful person to talk to.”
Equally, businessman and former Virginia Del. Joe T. May (R) treasured his discussions with Morrow, whom he called a “true southern gentleman.” Politically, the two men held different views, but, “I loved talking to him,” May recalled. He first knew Dan and Glenda through the Loudoun Laurels, a charitable organization that yearly honors individuals who have contributed notably to Loudoun County and raises funds for student scholarships. “It was very personal to them,” May said, recalling their “tremendous talents in organizing this very successful endeavor.”
Longtime friend, preservationist and Civil War historian, Childs Burden shared many interests with Morrow. Currently chairman emeritus of the Mosby Heritage Area Association, on whose board Morrow served, the two men indulged their common passion for history. “Dan always understood the value of community interest,” Burden said, noting they shared similar values on conservation and history. Most of all, he remembered “that smile that lit up his face.”
Fellow journalist,Loudoun NowPublisher and Editor Norman K. Styer, recalled he was fortunate to have been at the table “when Dan, Glenda and Dee Dee were first discussing the launch of theMiddleburg Eccentric.” Many years later, the Morrows were around the table when the decision was made to launchLoudoun Now, and were among the day-one investors in that effort.
Through those decades, “Dan’s passion for journalism—and dedication to the pursuit of justice—was always a source of inspiration. He understood the role the press plays as community stewards and government watchdogs and held us all to his high standards.”