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Morgan A. Bren

April 20, 1985 ~ April 7, 2020 (age 34)


My daughter, Morgan, died on April 7, 2020, shortly after arriving from Philadelphia to self-quarantine in Colrain before spending the summer with me in Ashfield, MA. Coming home would have coincided with her birthday on April 20th. She would have been 35.

A dedicated cartoonist, Morgan continually reinvented herself over the course of her short life. She published under several aliases, among them Tracy Auch and Morgan Vogel.  As Whitman wrote: “I am large, I contain multitudes.” Morgan absolutely contained multitudes. She was born Kyle Kerivan Strimbeck in Littleton, NH, and came out as transgender at age eighteen, changing her name to Caroline A. Bren. In recent years, she preferred to go by Morgan, which was her grandmother’s maiden name. She’d planned to change her legal name to Morgan Kerivan.

Zach Phillips, a friend of Morgan’s since their Hampshire College days, eloquently captured my daughter’s expansiveness when he wrote to me shortly after her death: “Someone so incredibly intelligent, energetic, free-thinking, creatively powerful and subtle doesn’t come out of nowhere. To say she made an impression on me and many people I know would be a huge understatement. Morgan is the paragon of an artist and one of the most outrageously gifted people I’ve ever known. Everything she did from conversation to art was shot through with wild insight, no-bullshit clarity and a wicked sense of humor that made me look up to her and will stay with me forever. Her presence changed so many of our lives for the better.”

The Comics Journal compiled a collective memorial of Morgan and her work. It can be found at http://www.tcj.com/morgan-vogel-1986-2020/

Morgan was preceded by her father, Lee A. Strimbeck, and a half-sister, Evan Strimbeck of Bethlehem, NH. A memorial will be held (date TBA) at my home in Ashfield, or—if circumstances allow—at Ashfield’s Congregational Church. In lieu of sending flowers, do this in Morgan’s memory: Make eye contact with someone who is living on the street. Give them money. Talk to them; learn their name. That’s what Morgan did.

With much gratitude for the support afforded to me by neighbors, friends, and our community,

Kate Kerivan

470 Bug Hill Road

Ashfield, MA

June 17, 2020

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