Jazz Musician, Pianist, Arranger, Leonard H. Morton, Sr. Passes Away

Leonard Morton, Sr.

We celebrate the life and legacy of Mr. Leonard H. Morton, Sr. who peacefully transitioned into eternal life surrounded by his close family, July 12, 2020.  Born in Chicago, Illinois to Benjamin and Geneva Morton on September 10, 1927. Married to Mrs. Willa G. Morton, and father to Leonard H. (Michele R.) Morton Jr. and Shauneille Elaine (Sharifa) Morton; grandfather to Dr. Tesia D. (Jarrett) Wilson and Erin Michele Morton; great grandfather to Cayli Mariah Wilson and Aiden Mason Wilson; devoted nieces and nephews; and a large loving family and a host of friends. Mr. Leonard Morton, Sr. is proceeded in death by his parents and sister, Mrs. Ardell (William) Cruiksank.

He attended Chicago Conservatory of Music and graduated from Tennessee State University, Nashville, Tennessee in Music Education (Bachelor of Science and Masters of Science degrees.) 

Mr. Morton served in the 118th Army Ground Forces Band while in the United States military. He achieved an extensive career as a music educator and professional musician. He began teaching at Wilson County High School, Lebanon, Tennessee, and served as Director of Bands, Cameron High School from 1961-1969. Mr. Morton was the first African American to hold the position, Director of Music Education, Metropolitan Nashville Public School District (MNPS) in 1978.

Known also as a jazz musician, Mr. Morton was an outstanding pianist and arranger. He has directed many choirs and bands, including the Community based choir, Cameron Singers, American Baptist College Male Chorus and founder of #30 Men of Clark.

Initiated into Alpha Theta Chapter of Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity, Inc in 1949 where he served as life member and Chairman of the National Music Committee in 1979 forming and directing numerous choirs. Brother Morton has scored all of the newly arranged songs for the International Music Project of Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity, Inc.

Brother Morton has served as Vice Polemarch (1977) and Polemarch of the Nashville Alumni Chapter (1979-1981) and received numerous honors and awards. He was honored to receive the distinguished Elder Watson Diggs Award by his great fraternity in 2001.

Leonard H. Morton, Sr. served as a devoted member of Clark United Methodist Church in Nashville, Tennessee.

Public viewing 2 – 6  Thursday, July 16, 2020 and Funeral Friday July 17, 2020, 10:30 am at Lewis and Wright Funeral Home, 2500 Clarksville Hwy., Nashville, 37208.  Telephone – 615-255-2371.