James Dean ("Dean") Morgan was born September 3, 1942 in Berkeley, California to Elmer Morgan and Mildred Dean Morgan. He died in Seattle on December 3, 2021, after a long battle with Parkinson’s Disease.
Dean was raised in the East Bay and earned his BA from the University of California-Berkeley in 1964. He earned a JD at the University of California-Hastings College of Law in 1968 and set out for Seattle to join the then-tiny law firm of Hauger Garvey Schubert, now Foster Garvey. In 1972, he moved to Vancouver, Washington to found the Clark County Public Defender Office, where he worked with and mentored a number of young lawyers who became lifelong friends.
In 1976, Gov. Dan Evans appointed Dean to the Clark County Superior Court where he served until 1990 when Gov. Booth Gardner appointed him to the Court of Appeals, Division II. After joining the Superior Court Dean quickly became an expert on evidence, a subject he loved studying and teaching. Dean served on the faculty of the National Judicial College, where he taught judges from around the nation, and of the Washington State Judicial College. He served as an adjunct professor of law at Seattle University School of Law and Lewis & Clark Law School in Portland.
Dean was a judge's judge. As an appellate judge, he believed that his opinions were only good if they provided lawyers with a detailed analysis that they could apply to their own cases. His painstaking work earned him "Outstanding Judge of the Year" honors in 1998 from the Washington State Bar Association and membership in the prestigious American Law Institute.
Dean was also a talented musician, who played trumpet professionally as a young man and who continued to play for family, friends and community groups until Parkinson’s intervened.
After his retirement from the Court in 2005, Dean continued to teach evidence for several years but found more time to travel the world and play with his grandchildren. Grandpa rarely missed a grandchild’s basedball or soccer game. He is survived by his wife, Michele Radosevich; his children and stepchildren, Christine Seeley (Bruce), Peter Morgan (Tanya), and Andrea Radosevich (Dana Cogswell), grandchildren Madeleine and Gabrielle Seeley and Jeremy and Nicole Cogswell, brother Dick Morgan (Tina), and sisters Kathleen Morgan (Luis Losada) and Suzanne Williams (Reed).
A memorial service will be held at a future date.
Memorial donations can be made to the Campaign for Equal Justice, 1325 Fourth Ave., Suite 1335, Seattle, WA 98101 or online at https://legalfoundation.org/givenow/
Please share memories & photos of Dean on the Tribute Wall, located above.
Arrangements entrusted to Emmick Family Funeral Home of West Seattle
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