Family and friends remember elderly man hit by car

Family and friends remember elderly man hit by car

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"He knew the farm and the animals and the trees. He just loved nature," said John Niceley of Strong Stock Farm. "He knew the farm and the animals and the trees. He just loved nature," said John Niceley of Strong Stock Farm.
"He'd go up there and eat breakfast, talk to friends about old days. He loved that little store," Morgan's daughter Kim Severs said of the Town and Country market. "He'd go up there and eat breakfast, talk to friends about old days. He loved that little store," Morgan's daughter Kim Severs said of the Town and Country market.
"He was a wonderful man. He's just like a grandfather to us, a best friend," said Tonia Boles, who has looked forward to seeing Morgan every day for the seven years she's worked here. "He was a wonderful man. He's just like a grandfather to us, a best friend," said Tonia Boles, who has looked forward to seeing Morgan every day for the seven years she's worked here.

By JILL MCNEAL
6 News Anchor/Reporter

KNOXVILLE (WATE) - Family and friends are remembering the elderly man who died after being hit by a car Wednesday morning.

Officials say 90-year-old James Morgan was trying to cross Old Rutledge Pike in East Knox County just before 7 a.m.

The driver, 31-year-old Alvaro Reyes-Hernandez, told officers he didn't see Morgan until it was too late.

The sheriff's office says alcohol was not a factor, but he was arrested for driving without a license.

Everyone who knew Morgan called him Jay. He was a fixture in his community, walking several times a day from his home down the road to the Town and Country market.

He was coming back from breakfast Wednesday morning when he was hit and those who loved him can't believe he's gone.

"He knew the farm and the animals and the trees. He just loved nature," said John Niceley of Strong Stock Farm.

Morgan was born on the farm and worked there nearly all of his life.

"He was an incredible man. When he was in his 70s, he'd do more work than five people," Niceley said.

He had a bad leg, but never let it slow him down.

"The doctors, they'd been wanting to take his leg off for five years or longer. He told them they couldn't have his leg. He knew if he walked and exercised and stayed active that he could get more circulation into his leg and it didn't hurt as bad," Niceley said.

That's why Morgan walked several times a day, starting before dawn, to the Town and Country Market and Deli a half-mile away.

"He'd go up there and eat breakfast, talk to friends about old days. He loved that little store," said Morgan's daughter Kim Severs.

She worried about him, especially when it was dark.

"He'd say, 'I can walk just fine. I've been doing it for 90 years.' That's what he would say," Severs said.

Kim says her father wore a bright orange jacket every time he went out.

"You could see it a mile away with headlights, that's what I couldn't understand. The car came down the straight away. How could they have missed him?" she said.

It's a question his friends at the market are asking too. 

"He was a wonderful man. He's just like a grandfather to us, a best friend," said Tonia Boles, who has looked forward to seeing Morgan every day for the seven years she's worked here.

"We're going to miss him," she said. "I was ready to serve him breakfast this morning. Gravy and biscuits."

His family will receive friends Friday evening from 5 to 8 p.m. at Bridges Funeral Home.

Graveside services will be Saturday at 1 p.m. at Greenwood Cemetery.

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