By Margaret Morton, 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 the Middleburg 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, calling 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 the Washington 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, Eccentric Editor-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 public 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 organization’s board. “Like all great newspaper people, Dan was a skeptic 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 Now Publisher, 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 the Middleburg Eccentric.” Many years later, the Morrows were around the table when the decision was made to launch Loudoun Now and was 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.”
To his beloved companion Paula Campbell who cherished Dan for all his many virtues and who nursed him through his final weeks the community sends our heartfelt condolences.
Quotes about Dan
“Dan will be sorely missed by our entire community. His adventurous spirit, gently good humor and enduring sense of fairness while always seeking to treats others with dignity and respect are qualities are far too short of supply today. The was taken from us far too early but his memory will live on in the good works we can all do by his example. Dan, thank you for being a true friend, mentor, and champion of us all”
Mayor, Town of Middleburg
Dan Morrow was a treasure, a delight, a true gentleman. He always had a cheerful smile on his face and enjoyed himself wherever he was, whatever he did. He enjoyed everything in life and embraced it all with joy and happiness. I wish more of us had his outlook and will forever look to the first seat in the first row to the left of our dais for him. He will be greatly missed. Dan, my friend, RIP.
Town of Middleburg
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.
Jay and I had started the paper and we were looking for someone to strengthen our editorial endeavors. We got to talking with Dan and found he was a perfect fit with the direction we wanted to take the paper. Every month for sixteen years without fail Dan wrote the Town Council Report and provided his input and insight to the Editorial Sections of the paper. He will be greatly missed and always remembered for all he did.
Jay and Dee Dee Hubbard
I will miss my friend. First impressions often set the tone. To that end, our first impression of each other involved a shared skepticism. I first met Dan when he interviewed me after accepting the job as Chief of Police in Middleburg. Following the customary introductions, he started it off with… “You are the third chief in a year…did the Council get it right?” Nobody can ever say Dan was introverted in his approach to get the facts. After I recovered…we had a great discussion. He promised to keep a watchful eye on the department and then wrote a fair but open-ended story. True to his word, Dan maintained constant contact with the department and specifically me. We developed trust and friendship over time. Possibly the best compliment I have received in my time as chief in Middleburg came from Dan. It was short and was essentially one word. So, in the way, only Dan could convey, he pulled me aside, a few years ago, and said: “yes…a resounding yes.” Having not asked a question…I know I looked puzzled. He laughed and said, “it’s the answer to the first question I ever asked you.” So, as talented of a wordsmith as he was…one word from Dan is among the most cherished compliments I have received. Rest well, my Friend. Chief A.J.
Police Chief Middleburg
Danny Davis let me know this morning of Dan’s passing. I still can’t believe it’s true. He was such a good man. I feel really fortunate to have gotten to share part of my journey with him.
I am so sorry. I know that you will miss him in ways much deeper than me. Please know that I am holding you and Dan’s family in the Light.
Marth Mason Semmes
Being relatively new to the Town Council, I didn’t have the opportunity to get to know Dan all that well. He was a staple at Middleburg Town Council meetings, and I always appreciated his sense of humor and his ability to accurately report on the activities of the town government (at least the parts not in closed session, or “secret meetings” as he called them). We are all incredibly saddened by his passing and will miss all that he brought to our meetings and our community.
Middleburg Town Council
Dan Morrow was a man of the highest principles and was imbued with a deep and abiding sense of what is right and always without exception erred on the side of reason, based on knowledge and wisdom accrued from philosophical discourse and study.
Town meetings were always light hearted and fun because of his quick wit, even if under his breath. He kept us in the know and on our toes. His unwavering integrity will be missed.
Middleburg Town Council
Dan Morrow was a gentle, kind man of strong intellect, comfortable interviewing Steve Jobs, covering a Middleburg Town Council Meeting or hiking through the woods or kayaking on the Shenandoah. I miss his Buddha nature and our meandering discussions. I miss my friend, Dan.
Please pass my deepest condolences to Dan’s loved ones and of course to you, and the entire “Eccentric” family.
He was such an energy at council meetings and always retained a wonderfully dry sense of humor. We will greatly miss seeing him, notebook at the ready, in his usual seat. And I’ll miss his smile as he left the meetings jokingly, I think :), complaining that we were heading into yet another ‘Secret Meeting’.
Middleburg Town Council