Dr. John Richard “Erskine” Morden was born in Ottawa, Ontario on the 17th of January, 1913. Dr. Morden was the youngest of 5 children born to Rev. Dorland Noxon Morden and the former Bertha Maria Cooper. His father was a Presbyterian Minister and his siblings were; Daisy Maud Morden, Beath Dorland Morden, Julia Gwendolyn Morden and Marian Cooper Morden. At the time of Dr. Morden’s birth, the family resided at 345 Bronson Avenue (in Ottawa). According to the 1921 census, Rev. Dorland Morden and his family lived at 534 Sherbourne Street in Toronto.
Dr. Morden married Alice Edith Dalton on the 16th of September, 1934 in Tilbury. They were married by Dr. Morden’s father, who incidentally was the officiant at all of his children’s weddings except Daisy, who died in 1914 at the age of 24. Mrs. Morden was born in Grand Haven, Michigan on the 14th of June, 1913. She was the youngest of 2 children born to William Alfred Dalton and the former Gertrude Turner. Her father was a foreman with the Grand Trunk Rail Road and her brother was Arthur Turner Dalton. Mrs. Morden grew up in Grand Haven and graduated from Grand Haven High School before attending college. She became an x-ray technician.
Dr. Morden graduated from Queen’s University School of Medicine in 1938. After completing his internship, Dr. Morden took over the medical practice of Dr. Charles Carruthers in the village of Florence. (Dr. Charles Carruthers died on the 30th of June, 1939). Florence is situated in Lambton County and the village borders on Chatham-Kent. Dr. Morden is known to have seen patients in the Community of Thamesville and in Camden Twp and Zone Twp (Chatham-Kent). To substantiate this his signature appears on birth and death records
Dr. and Mrs. Morden had 2 children, Gail and Joyce.
Dr. Morden served with the Royal Canadian Army Medical Corp during World War II. He achieved the rank of Captain. While her husband was away at war, Mrs. Morden lived at 72 Lincoln Ave. in Brantford, Ontario.
By 1950 Dr. and Mrs. Morden were living in Springfield, Massachusetts. Dr. Morden was a Director at Massachusetts Mutual Life Insurance. Their home was located at 97 Overlook Dr. in Springfield. In 1958, Dr. Morden purchased a small medical practice in Santa Ana, California. In 1960 Dr. and Mrs. Morden lived at 13421 Sussex Place (in Santa Ana). Eventually Dr. Morden left private practice to work at the University of California, Irvine, at the Student Health Centre.
Dr. Morden was a theatre buff. He acted, directed and even painted scenery for over 550 productions. Dr. Morden also enjoyed singing and writing music for theatre productions. During one of his retirements from medicine, Dr. Morden took a commission with the Merchant Marine and in payment for his service, he took his wife’s passage instead of a salary.
Mrs. Morden died on the 25th of October, 1996 in Alameda County, California. She was buried in the Dalton family plot at the Windsor Grove Cemetery in Windsor, Ontario. Dr. Morden died on the 1st of March, 1997 in Alameda County, California. He was buried at Glenwood Cemetery, in Picton, Ontario.
*Dr. Morden’s brother had an unusual name, Beath Dorland Morden. The biographer has verified the correct spelling of his first name with numerous sources, including his marriage record and his enlistment record in WWI.
**Dr. Charles Herbert Carruthers also appears on the Chatham-Kent Physician Tribute website.
***The webmaster is grateful for the assistance of the Morden family.