David L. Morgan, Jr.

David L. Morgan, Jr. (86) of Pleasanton and Livermore followed his wife Arlene and many beloved family and friends to eternal rest on October 25, 2023. David is survived by his children Luke, Matt (Amy Nathanson), and Peter (Greta) Morgan, his sister Sally Rapuano, his brother John (Beth) Morgan, grandchildren Daniel, Sarah, Kelsey, Kayla, Amber, and Asher Morgan, and cherished nieces and nephews.

Born September 21, 1937 in Knoxville, Tennessee to Sarah Peters Morgan and David L. Morgan, Sr., Dave was fascinated by the physical universe and was blessed with a creative, powerful, and introspective mind. Guided by his passion for physics, he graduated from Yale University in 1959, completed a master’s degree at Cornell University, then returned to Yale to earn his doctorate in nuclear physics. After starting his career on the East Coast and briefly in Toronto, Canada, he brought his young family (and the telescope he handcrafted as a teen) to California in the early 1970s to work at the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory. There, he devoted himself and his career to national security, responsible for the most sensitive national defense research and an early and long-time member of the U.S. Nuclear Emergency Support Team. Outside of his confidential work, Dave was known internationally for his work in matter-antimatter annihilation; his seminal work from the 1960s is still referenced regularly today and his later publications on the design of a matter-antimatter annihilation rocket led to some fame, including participating in television documentaries exploring the science of Star Trek and being a subject of others’ UFO conspiracy theories.

David met Arlene while he was a student at Yale and she worked as a librarian. Having met in the New Haven Public Library, they were (literally) brought together by their love of reading and learning. However, the strength of their relationship likely lay in their complementary differences of character. Whereas Arlene, gregarious and loquacious, could energetically manage a conversation for hours, Dave in that same conversation might lose himself in thought, perhaps pondering the nature of existence; Arlene, always thinking of social and educational experiences for them and their children, could rely on Dave without question to execute her ideas, adding soft touches and friendliness that garnered him a universal reputation as the nicest person ever to be met. For in truth, despite his intellectual brilliance and other gifts, what set Dave most apart was his unparalleled lack of arrogance. Evidence of the true humility with which Dave was blessed included a preternatural ability to see the good in people, a complete disinterest in gossip, and a near inability to pass judgment on others. He was content to live a life without the encumbrances of cynicism, and those who knew him were elevated for it.

Private services of remembrance will be arranged. In lieu of flowers or donations, Dave would have appreciated that we each find our own way to live simply, with more love, and with more hope.