The National Independent Automobile Dealers Association announcee thd passing of James "Odell" Morgan, longtime executive director of the Oklahoma IADA. Morgan, 87, passed away September 24 at his home in Norman, Okla., after a four-year battle with cancer.
Morgan joined OIADA as executive director in 1987 and served the association for 27 years, as co-executive with his wife, Rose. He was named NIADA's Association Executive of the Year in 1994, and in 2002 he became the third member of the State Executives Council Hall of Fame. Members of the Oklahoma Used Motor Vehicle and Parts Commission awarded him the "Quality Ambassador" designation for the used motor vehicle industry in the state of Oklahoma.
"We worked together on the state level for many years," said NIADA CEO emeritus Michael Linn, who began his tenure as Carolinas IADA executive director the same year Morgan joined OIADA. "When I moved to NIADA, we enlisted Odell's assistance on many of the legislative and regulatory issues coming from Capitol Hill. "We were great friends and cohorts over the years. I always appreciated his assistance and his friendship."
Morgan, a Navy veteran, was not only involved in the auto industry, he was also a leader in local government. He served the city of Moore, Okla., as a member of the planning commission and the city council and was elected to two terms as mayor.
In addition, Morgan was deputy director of the Association of Central Oklahoma Governments and was instrumental in establishing an enhanced 911 emergency response system that now encompasses more than 35 communities with a combined population of more than one million people. He also worked to improve state and federal highways and ensure ground water safety and was elected president of the Oklahoma Municipal League in 1975.
"Odell was a big part of our association for a long time," NIADA executive vice president Steve Jordan said. "He was instrumental in developing our current Association Executives Council structure and other aspects of OIADA and NIADA. He was a pioneer, a great innovator and a respected leader at both the state and national levels. His leadership will be missed."