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Staff file photo / Morgan Construction Co. Inc. President Jeff Morgan poses for a portrait outside the company offices in 2018 in Chattanooga.

Jeff Morgan, a Chattanooga builder who grew Morgan Construction Co. Inc. over the past 38 years into one of Chattanooga's biggest construction contracting companies, died Sunday after a battle with Lou Gehrig's disease, also known as ALS. He was 61.

Morgan, who graduated from Baylor School in 1978, served on the school's board of trustees from 2001 to 2007 and served as chair of Baylor's Buildings and Grounds Committee for three years, overseeing the building of the new Riverfront Hall, the natatorium and renovations to Worsham Memorial Wrestling Arena, among other projects.

He graduated from the University of Tennessee and was inducted into the UTC Entrepreneurship Hall of Fame in 2018.

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The son of the late Chattanooga lawyer John Morgan, Jeff Morgan is survived by his wife, Melissa Morgan; three children and their spouses, John and Kara Morgan, Mary Austin Morgan, Bri and Jeff Boehm, and one grandchild, Alice Boehm.

Morgan founded Morgan Construction in 1983 when he was 23 and grew the company with residential and commercial building projects across 14 states. Morgan Construction has completed more than $1 billion of construction work and has maintained a repeat business ratio of 97%.

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"It's a whole lot more enjoyable to be working with a repeat customer than always scrambling for a new customer," Morgan said in a 2018 interview.

From its start building a few homes at a time, Morgan Construction grew to include work on new restaurants, hotels, distribution warehouses and shopping centers. By 1990, the company was working in seven states and had established itself as a competitive leader in retail construction, particularly neighborhood grocery-anchored shopping centers. Morgan built more than 200 grocery stores for Food Lion, Houchins, Aldi, Kroger, Winn-Dixie, Bi-Lo and Publix.

In 2007, Morgan Construction built a $60 million, 800,000-square-foot regional lifestyle center in Lake Havasu City, Arizona, for Chattanooga developer Bucky Wolford.

Chattanooga Funeral Home, East Chapel, is handling arrangements for Morgan. No schedule for memorial services had been announced as of Monday.

— Compiled by Dave Flessner