March 30, 1949 - December 12, 2016
George Jefferson Morgenthaler (Jeff), 67, of Boerne, TX, passed away on Monday, December 12, 2016, at Methodist Hospital.
Jeff was born in Kansas City, MO on March 30, 1949, to Robert Eric and Dorothy Jean Morgenthaler, who preceded him in death. He grew up in Shawnee Mission, KS. He moved to CO to attend Colorado College in Colorado Springs where he earned a bachelor’s degree in history. After spending a year in Jackson Hole, WY, to indulge his inner ski bum, he attended the University of Denver College of Law and earned a doctor of law degree.
Jeff’s 25-year legal career in Denver and Houston spanned domestic and international mergers, acquisitions, financial transactions, corporate finance and corporate governance, primarily in the energy industry. He worked for Texaco as a baby lawyer and then in private practice for nine years. He served as senior vice president and general counsel of Apache Corporation and Frontera Resources. He is the author of Oil and Gas Title Examination, which has been the classic reference for attorneys and landmen for more than 30 years. He was a highly sought after speaker on oil and gas law and other topics.
Following his successful career as a corporate lawyer, Jeff moved to Boerne in 2002, where he owned and operated Mockingbird Books. Because customers kept asking for a local history, he wrote and self-published a book about Boerne. In 2006 he closed the book store to make room for writing and publishing.
Jeff is the author of several nonfiction books about the history of Texas, including the award-winning The River Has Never Divided Us and the landmark Promised Land: Solms, Castro, and Sam Houston’s Colonization Contracts. He created The Texana Foundation to encourage interest and excellence in preserving and writing Texas history. The foundation’s projects included writers' workshops and conferences, Texana e-book development, public library collection development, and underwriting and producing historical displays.
Jeff’s recent study of the historic Pinta Trail, based largely on the maps and surveys of the Texas General Land Office Archives (TGLO), prompted his interest in the TGLO’s map collection. He acquired and donated five historic maps to the TGLO Archives, which represents the largest single donation of historic maps to the Archives.
When not writing Texas nonfiction, Jeff designed and created websites for businesses and non-profits. He used his popular personal blog, whooper.com, to contemplate and explain the cosmos.
Jeff possessed great intelligence and was an independent thinker. He had a way of looking through the clutter and distractions of a situation and seeing the essence that makes good decisions possible. He was a news and political junkie, serial small business entrepreneur and civic curmudgeon. He enjoyed calling the city of Boerne staff to task good naturedly, especially about their implementation of the sign ordinance. An accomplished chef and grill master, he recently took the grand prize in the 2016 Wang Dang Doodle Dutch Oven Cookoff. His intellectual curiosity was trumped only by his big heart, quiet acts of kindness and anonymous donations.
Jeff is survived by his wife of 20 years, Jeanne Buchanan; his daughters whom he adored Ann Morgenthaler of Ouray, CO, and Jean Morgenthaler of Centennial, CO; his brother Eric Morgenthaler of Mission, KS, and his sister Susan Morgenthaler of Fairway, KS; and his sisters- and brothers-in law: JoAnn and Mike Sibley of Denton, TX, Judy and Ted Arriola of Noel, MO, Janet and Cliff Show of Pasadena, TX, Joy and Arnie Preece of Idaho Falls, ID, Tom and Laurie Buchanan of Liberty Hill, TX, and Tim and Teresa Buchanan of Clear Lake Shores, TX.
Jeff chose not to have a funeral, preferring instead to be remembered at a BBQ shebang to be held in the new year. Jeff’s family suggests memorials to Save Texas History (www.glo.texas.gov/save-texas-history/donate/).