CENTERVILLE — Noted philanthropist, entrepreneur, advertising executive and real estate preservationist Morgan E. Cline, 81, of Middletown Township, N.J., passed away unexpectedly on Easter Sunday, April 20, 2014, at his home. He was surrounded by the love and comfort of close friends at the time of his passing. Morgan was predeceased by his beloved partner of 52 years, Benjamin R. D’Onofrio, in 2009.
Born on Aug. 26, 1932, in Exline, Morgan Evan Cline graduated from Exline High School as valedictorian in 1949 and received a scholarship to attend Centerville Junior College, which he did for one year before moving on to Drake University to study pharmacy. He graduated with honors from Drake University in 1953 at the age of 20. Morgan attended two years of medical school at Iowa University and then enlisted in the Army, where he was assigned as a pharmacist and stationed at Fort Dix, N.J., and later at Fort Jay in New York City. After spending two years in the Army, followed by three years as a drug store pharmacist, Morgan entered the world of advertising, where he leveraged his medical expertise and focused on the health care industry.
Morgan began his advertising career at Dean Burdick Associates, later moving on to Robert A. Becker Inc., before making his way to Klemtner Advertising in New York, where he rose to become president in 16 years, at the age of 50. After great success with Klemtner, he founded his own agency, Cline, Davis & Mann, with two creative partners, Fred Mann and Clyde Davis. In just 17 years, Morgan and his partners took the organization from a kitchen-table boutique to a dominant force in the advertising community with more than 130 employees. Morgan set the tone at the company by living an extraordinary and principled business life, based on the simple values of hard work, demanding standards, loyalty and generosity. He was responsible for the advertising launch of both Viagra and Lipitor, two of the most successful pharmaceutical product launches of all time. Much sought after as an acquisition target, the agency was eventually acquired by Omnicom Group, the second-largest communications company in the world.