Remembering Marv Morganti

Alberta Freitas, who years ago was hired as a teacher by Marv Morganti, speaks at his celebration of life on Saturday. Photo courtesy Christine Turman

Marv Morganti, born in 1924, had an active career in Pacifica schools and helped many causes and organizations until his death earlier this year. Friends celebrated his life on Saturday at the Moose Lodge.

He was born to Swiss immigrants living on a 80-acre dairy farm in San Joaquin Valley.

After high school in Newman, he served with the U.S. Navy in the Pacific during World War II. He watched the raising of the flag at Iwo Jima from his ship.

He earned a degree in journalism and English from the University of the Pacific in Stockton. Later he earned a master’s degree in education administration from the school. He married his high school sweetheart and raised five children. He taught school in Lodi and was a principal there.

Morganti moved to Pacifica in 1961 and worked for Pacifica School District, then known as Laguna Salada Union School District, as a principal, then consultant and ended his career as assistant superintendent. He retired in1980, then guided beginning teachers at San Francisco State University for 10 years.

He enjoyed a sideline career as an actor. He was an extra in many films and a regular in three shows filmed in the Bay Area, “Nash Bridges,” “Partners in Crime” and “Midnight Caller.”

Life in retirement kept him busy. He was active with Pacifica Historical Society, Lions Club and retired educators. He loved to play Bingo at the Moose Lodge, traveling to casinos and taking cruises. He spent time with his eight grandchildren and three great-grandchildren.

Christine Morganti-Turman fondly remembered the family cruises, especially the one to Costa Rica.

“He loved life,” she said. “He was full of fun. He loved positivity.”

He was a founding board member of Pacificans Care in 1982 and helped to raise money for several social service agencies in Pacifica and continued to support the organization. His wife died 29 years ago but he stayed busy after that.

Steve Pacini, married to Cindy, the youngest of the Morganti children, took the podium at the celebration of life. He said Morganti wanted exactly this sort of memorial, full of family, friends and with a feeling of camaraderie. He wanted his memory to make people happy. He wanted lots of good food and cupcakes. He wanted good music for dancing, too, Pacini said.

Grandson Auston Turman loved traveling with Morganti, especially remembering a trip to Hawaii. He turned 18 on one family cruise in which Morganti taught him how to gamble. He loved talking to him about his role in World War II.

Granddaughter Kendal Turman said Morganti loved playing cards and presiding over family dinners.

“He loved Rocky Road ice cream,” she said.

Jamie Morganti said when she started school in Pacifica the student teacher in her class recognized her name.

“He remembered every teacher,” she said, adding he never missed marking the occasion of a family birthday or a holiday with a card.

Linda Jonas, who knew Morganti through volunteering at Pacifica Historical Society said, “He was the best dancer.”

PHS member Shirlee Gibbs said Morganti was one of the nicest men she ever encountered.

He wrote family news and news from friends adding lots of wit in a flyer he typed for family called, “The Irregular.” He kept it going for decades.

Alberta Freitas, former principal at Sharp Park School and Cabrillo School, said she met Morganti 50 years ago when he hired her to be a teacher. He said he wanted to meet that girl from the valley. He was also from the San Joaquin Valley. It turned out their families knew each other.

“We would talk about the Giants or ‘Jeopardy.’ We didn’t like all the contestants on ‘Jeopardy’ but we did like Alex Trebek. He was always a glass half-full person. We will miss him. His legacy lives on,” she said. 

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