Brian Morganstern

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Brian Charles Morganstern, 77, of Annapolis, MO, died on Saturday, December 5, 2020, at Saint Louis University Hospital, St. Louis, MO. Brian lived his life to the fullest!! He loved his family and loved his adventures.

He was preceded in death by his wife, Debbie, nee Whitten, Morganstern, who died May 13, 2020; and his parents, Alfred and Beatrice, nee Murray, Morganstern.

Brian was born in Manchester, NH, in 1943, and moved to Belleville, IL, at the age of 9. He attended Belleville Township High School, where he was a linebacker on the football team, terrorized his teachers and graduated in 1961. In his early twenties, “Marblehead” enjoyed amateur boxing and most anything outdoors. In 1963, he started his career as a commercial artist with the Metro East Journal and later moved on to work for Reynolds Metals for 12 years. His artistic talent and vision heavily influenced much of his life. Aside from his profession, Brian created many paintings, drawings and quick doodles when his young kids begged him to draw something – mostly related to nature or sailing.

His favorite hobbies were sailing, camping and motorcycle trail riding. He and a buddy rode motorcycles from Illinois all the way to the tip of the Baja Peninsula, Mexico and back. Sailing was also a big part of his life. A favorite family story is to hear about the time that he made a sail and rigged up his canoe to sail on Lake Springfield. His last sailboat was 42 feet long… quite an improvement! Another fun Brian story is when, as kids, he and another friend built a wooden canoe with a canvas shell and, in the wintertime, launched it in the cemetery

lake. It quickly sank with him in it. That was a cold run home.

In 1974, Brian married the love of his life, Debbie, and they enjoyed 47 years together.

From 1977-1988 Brian worked for Southern Gravure, both in Carbondale, IL and Portage, MI.  While in Carbondale, Brian began building a hunting cabin in the woods. One day while working on it, a couple of officers approached him to let him know that it wasn’t allowed on SIU Forest Preserve property. After some rationalizations from Brian, he went for a little ride with the two gentlemen. In 1988, he and Debbie set sail from Holland, MI to St. Thomas, USVI to pursue his dream job of owning and captaining the sailboat, ​Morningstar​, on which he sailed tourists to the most beautiful locations, while Debbie managed the shop and tourism business they established. Brian always tried to share his adventurism with friends and family. After making a treasure map for his own kids when they were young and burying a treasure for them to find, he later did the same thing for his grandkids after moving to St. Thomas, and occasionally for guests on his boat. To quote a friend, “I always admired Brian’s desire to carve his own path in life. I remember when he and Debbie sailed to St. Thomas. I thought… wait, you can do that?!”

In 2008 they retired and moved to a log cabin (they actually bought this one) in southern Missouri near the Black River, where they spent their remaining years. There he enjoyed fishing, hiking, hunting, canoeing and camping with his beagles. He and Debbie both treasured time with family. He will be greatly missed by friends and family alike. “Brian had many talents and skills as an artist, poet, non-conformist, sailboat captain, boxer, risk taker, and his family meant a lot to him. Brian was a uniquely talented individual. You could depend upon him as a friend, and he would fight for you to the end,” wrote one of Brian’s life-long friends. He truly was larger than life.

He is survived by his children, Dean (Debbie) Morganstern, and Kelly (Bryan) Nurenberg;
four grandchildren, Grant Morganstern, and Kenny, Morgan, and Madison Nurenberg;
a sister-in-law, Sue (Mark) Shands;
a nephew, Scott Shands;
a sister-in-law, Francesca Williams;
and the mother of his children, Kathy, nee Travous, Morganstern.

A joint celebration of life for both Brian and Debbie will be planned after the resolution of the pandemic.

Memorials may be made to Travis Mills Foundation or Tunnel to Towers Foundation. 

Condolences may be expressed to the family online at ​​.


11 Comments on Brian Morganstern

Mike Wilmas said : Guest Report Dec 15, 2020 at 11:29 AM

Brian and Debbie bought the cabin (the Chigger Inn) next to ours (the Tick Lodge) when they moved to Annapolis MO from the Virgin Islands.  They were wonderful neighbors and great friends. We spent many years exploring the Black River areas, shared many good times and his adventures stories. We would joke Brian had to be be in witness protection program...who would come to live next to the Tick Lodge from the Islands!! You and Debbie are missed my friend. Rest in Peace 

  • St. Paul
  • MO
Tony & Yolanda Joynt said : Guest Report Dec 14, 2020 at 8:57 AM

To the whole family, Yolanda & I wish to send our sincere condolences for your loss. Brian was one of the good guys, loyal to his friends and a nonconformist to the end. He will be missed by those who were lucky to know him. God bless him and all of you.

  • Millstadt
  • Illinois
Bill Schaltenbrand said : Guest Report Dec 13, 2020 at 11:21 AM

Dean & Kelly, I am very sorry for the loss of your father. He truly was an amazing person. One of my best vacations was sailing with Brian in St. Thomas. My prayers are with you and your families.

  • Belleville
  • IL
Bill Stacy and Family said : Guest Report Dec 12, 2020 at 5:56 PM

Brian you lived a very good life with a great loving family and many friends. Can’t beat that. Congratulations!

  • Palacios
  • Tx
darrell jung said : Guest Report Dec 12, 2020 at 4:47 PM

kelly & dean please accept my condolences. your dad was a great teacher, i learned how to find fun in unusual situations , we had many adventurous times. i will always miss him and debbie. i wish i could say more.

  • millstadt
  • IL
Kathy "Stormy" Dohrman Barrett said : Guest Report Dec 12, 2020 at 2:51 PM

Kelly & Dean, So sorry for your loss! Stormy

  • Shiloh
  • IL
Lisa V said : Guest Report Dec 12, 2020 at 12:28 PM

Kelly and Dean, I am so sorry for your loss. Your daddy was one of a kind and this captures his spirit and zest for living beautifully. He was the first person to introduce me to outdoor adventuring when I was in college at SIU. It changed me forever and now my family and I continue the love and tradition of camping, fishing, hunting, and adrenaline seeking outdoor activities. I will always owe him and be thankful for such a gift and legacy. You all are in my prayers. Hugs!

  • Tucson
  • AZ
Marla Luehder said : Guest Report Dec 12, 2020 at 12:00 PM

My sincere condolences in the passing of Brian. We go back many years together and so enjoyed hearing of his escapades. He leaves a legacy of love and laughter and many amazing stories. Rest In Peace.

  • Swansea
  • Il
Jennifer and John Fry said : Guest Report Dec 12, 2020 at 10:09 AM

I am so sorry for your loss! Clearly, your dad made a difference in the world and in the lives of everyone he met. I love the stories you shared about him and feel I know him better as a result of your detailed tribute. What wonderful memories you have to cherish!

  • Scottsdale
  • Arizona
Terry (T-Bone) Schwsrz said : Guest Report Dec 12, 2020 at 12:39 AM

Sandy and I send our condolences to the family. I had so many great times with Brian. One of the best was when we spent the day with him on the Morningstar in St Thomas and barely made it back to our cruise ship. I’m fortunate to have spoken to him only a week before his passing. He was lonely and now he is with Debbie again. Rest In Peace my friend.

  • Bradenton
  • Florida
Kim bauer said : Guest Report Dec 11, 2020 at 4:54 PM

Kelly and Dean, I am so sorry. This has been a big year of lost loved ones. My heart and parapets are with you and your families as you grieve. It was great to read this life story of your dad. I only met home a few times in person but he had an unforgettable sparkle of life in his eyes. The daredevil, devil may care attitude was obvious! Thanks for sharing this with everyone! Much love Kim Bauer- Eder

  • Beverly Hills
  • Ca

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