Sunday, March 4, 2001
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Posted on: Sunday, March 4, 2001

Helen Morgan, daughter of ex-governor, dead at 99

By Karen Blakeman
Advertiser Staff Writer

Helen Poindexter Morgan, daughter of the eighth governor of the territory of Hawaii, died at her home in Honolulu last month at age 99.

Helen Poindexter Morgan assumed the duties of a first lady.
Morgan was born in Montana in 1902 to Joseph B. Poindexter, a lawyer who would impress both the Wilson and Roosevelt administrations, and to Margaret Conger Poindexter, who died in 1918, when her daughter was 16.

Morgan moved to Hawaii with her family in 1917, when President Wilson appointed her father judge of the U.S. District Court. Poindexter held that position until 1924.

Morgan attended Punahou, but graduated from a high school in Long Beach. After college, she studied music in Paris under Nadia Boulanger, a noted teacher of the time.

In 1934, President Franklin Roosevelt appointed Poindexter governor. Poindexter had not remarried, and the duties of the first lady fell upon his daughter, then 32.

She said she didn’t care for formal receptions and belonged to no clubs. She did, however, love to dance. "I guess it is my one vice," she said.

Poindexter’s second term as governor was cut short when Japanese planes bombed Pearl Harbor on Dec. 7, 1941.

Morgan traveled extensively during the years that followed, until 1953, when she married English mining engineer Clifford Morgan. Her husband died in 1962, killed by a bull on his farm in Devon, and Morgan moved to Connecticut. She inherited a friend’s apartment on Wilder Avenue in 1989, and moved here in that year.

Morgan continued to visit the Mainland until well into her 90s, said her niece, Leslie Poindexter. She made frequent contributions to the humane society. She also continued to play the piano.

"Two weeks before she died, she went to the piano and played," Poindexter said.

The family will hold a memorial service in Connecticut in May.

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