Man killed in fire remembered as Wayland fixture

Vigil held for Jason Morgan, who died in mobile home fire Tuesday

Jason Morgan
A vigil for Jason Morgan in Wayland. (Jan. 3, 2018)

WAYLAND, Mich. (WOOD) — Wayland community members gathered Wednesday to remember a well-known local man who was killed in a mobile home fire.

A burning candle was left at the corner of Superior and Church streets in Wayland, where Jason Morgan would often sit on a bench and wave at passersby.

“He’d always wave and you always waved back because, you know, it’s Jason,” Jennifer Chappell, a friend of Morgan, said at the vigil.

Morgan, 44, was found dead Tuesday morning following the fire at Rabbit River Estates off 135th Avenue, just east of the city. Residents at the mobile home park called him an “icon,” saying he frequently walked his two dogs in the neighborhood and asked them for rides.

“He was just overall a very nice person,” Melissa Forsythe, his neighbor, said at the Wednesday vigil. “Every time we would drive by and he would be sitting on his favorite bench … we’d roll down the windows and we’d yell, ‘Hey, Jason,’ and he’d wave and say hi back.”

Friends said Morgan never let life get him down.

“He didn’t ever give up because he was hurt from a car accident many years ago,” Howard Koopman, one of Morgan’s friends, said.

“He had his disabilities and he never let them overrun him,” Chappell added.

The people at the vigil said that though Morgan wasn’t a public figure and never sought the spotlight, he made a difference in their lives with a simple smile.

“He’s just really going to be missed,” Chappell said. “It was heartbreaking driving through here last night and he wasn’t on his bench.”