Fan’s Search for Grave of Prominent Jazz Musician Reaches Startling Coda in Bucks County

grave marker
Image via Nate Chinen, NPR.
Final Feasterville resting spot of jazz trumpeter Lee Morgan.

Lee Morgan, a prominent jazz trumpeter in the 1950s and 1960s, had a tragically short career. The 33-year-old performer was killed by his common-law wife in 1972 and buried next to his father in White Chapel Memorial Park in Feasterville. NPR’s Nate Chinen uncovered the story of a recent, surprising revelation unearthed there.

Morgan succeeded as both a recording and concert artist. His discography comprised more than 30 albums on the Blue Note label, and a snip of one single, “The Sidewinder,” accompanied a then-high-profile commercial for Chrysler.

His story is again becoming prominent, owing to a 2016 documentary now on Netflix, I Called Him Morgan.

Phila. jazz fan Tommy Maguire learned of Morgan’s resting spot and traveled to Feasterville to find it. At the White Chapel Memorial Park site where Morgan rested, a map indicated where the grave was supposed to be. But upon arrival at the spot, Maguire found nothing but a grassy plot.

He then enlisted the help of a groundskeeper who thrust a shovel into the ground, searching for any sign of the marker. After a few thuds, a metallic clang rang forth.

The pair excavated Morgan’s marker and his father’s, rescuing them from beneath nearly a foot of dirt that had accumulated over the decades.

Finding the memorial, Maguire said, brought mixed emotions. “It was dramatic, and it was really sad,” he reflected.

More on Lee Morgan’s career and the reclamation of his grave marker is at NPR.

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