Seventy years as sweethearts

Couple from Fergus County High still going strong
By 
Deb Hill
News-Argus Managing Editor
Friday, February 12, 2021
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Former Lewistown residents Jim and Betty Morgan celebrated their 70th anniversary recently. The couple began dating while attending Fergus County High School and have been together ever since.
Photos courtesy of Jim Morgan

 

The year was 1950: The first credit card was introduced, kids watched Howdy Doody on black-and-white televisions, Pattie Page sang “The Tennessee Waltz,” a loaf of bread cost 13 cents, and high school students Jim Morgan and Betty Feyk were sweethearts.
After graduating from Fergus County High in June of 1950, the pair began planning their wedding, which took place at the Methodist Church on Jan. 26, 1951.
“We actually met in junior high,” Jim recalled, “but we didn’t like each other until we were sophomores in high school.”
Both came from large families – Betty’s with 13 and Jim’s with seven members, so the wedding was well attended. However the honeymoon presented some problems.
“As so often in January in Lewistown, it was a blizzard,” Jim said. “We drove to Billings in a blizzard. I had to borrow a car because I didn’t think mine would make it.”
The couple returned to Lewistown where Jim began working at the gypsum plant at Heath while Betty worked as a stenographer for a group of local attorneys.
Little did Jim know his position as general clerk at U.S. Gypsum would be the start of a 40-year career.
“I worked at the office there at Heath, I was a typist and eventually I got into accounting,” Jim explained. “The plant shipped gypsum to most of the western states. We shipped carloads. The problem with the Heath gypsum is that it was not that high of quality. But we shipped it out by train; carloads went to the Idaho potato fields, for example.”
In 1953, Jim enlisted in the Navy.
“Our ‘togetherness’ was interrupted by the Korean War. I was on active duty for two years,” Jim said, adding, “We were only separated for the three months when I was in boot camp, though.”
After two years of service, they returned to Lewistown, and Jim went back to work at “USG.”
In 1956, the company moved Jim and Betty to Plaster City in southern California.
“After two years in the desert, I transferred to the company’s Chicago headquarters,” Jim said. “Actually, I told them to move me or else I would move myself. We had had enough of the desert.”
Over the decades Jim worked for U.S. Gypsum in other locations, including the state of Georgia and several more stints at the Chicago headquarters.
“I first went to Chicago as an auditor and from there I traveled across the country. I saw a lot of the country, many different places,” Jim said, adding that while he moved around a lot, Betty was always by his side.
In 1990 Jim retired, and he and Betty eventually settled in Medford, Oregon.
“We actually looked at getting a place at the Esplanade, which is right across the street from Betty’s old family home, but we thought the winters here would be too much for us,” Jim said.
Still, the couple returns to Lewistown regularly, both to visit family and for high school reunions.
“We make sure to come every five years for the reunions,” Jim said.
Celebrating their 70th anniversary this year, the couple spent it as they had their honeymoon, alone together.
 “Due to the pandemic, we didn’t go out. We stayed home, just the two of us, and enjoyed a cake a neighbor baked for us,” Jim said. “We’re still sweethearts.”

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