Janet Bradford Morgan, a former attorney for The Florida Bar widely respected for her work fighting legal fraud in South Florida, died Saturday, March 9, 2019 in hospice in her Fort Lauderdale home after a four-year battle with lung cancer. She was 60, taken far too soon from the family and many friends who loved her. Janet, a native of Atlanta and a graduate of the University of Georgia School of Law, joined the Florida Bar in 1992 after several years of private and public practice in Georgia. As branch counsel for the unlicensed practice of law, she forced fake lawyers, shady foreclosure mills and a host of other scammers to shut their doors or overhaul unethical practices. She was a champion for victims, most satisfied when she could put money back in their pockets. Though the Bar is restricted to extracting civil penalties and settlements, Janet often worked with law enforcement agencies to build criminal cases against the worst operators. Some cases in her 23-year career established statewide precedents and -- in a testament to her meticulous work -- she never lost an appeal at the Florida Supreme Court level.
Janet is survived by her beloved daughter, Zoe Grimm, of Charleston, S.C.; her husband of 18 years, Curtis Morgan of Fort Lauderdale; her devoted parents, James and Maude Bradford of Atlanta; her first husband and Zoe's father, Fred Grimm of Fort Lauderdale; and her faithful dogs, Pogo and Pixie, who brought her constant comfort in her final weeks in home hospice.
Janet led a full and happy life in Fort Lauderdale, raising a daughter, renovating an 80-year-old wooden cottage in Victoria Park and surrounding herself with friends and dogs. She spent many weekends outdoors, swimming, biking, birdwatching in the Everglades or fishing the flats in Biscayne Bay with her husband Curtis -- as long as he brought fried chicken. She was an avid sports fan who demanded full household attention to Georgia Bulldog football games and always rehashed victories with her father Jim, a fellow Dawg. Over the last year, recalling a childhood listening to the Atlanta Braves on radio, she rediscovered her love for baseball, cheering for the Miami Marlins. She didn't care that they often lost because, you know, wait until next year. And the unhurried rhythm of the games took her mind away from her daunting health challenge. Janet was a nonsmoker so the discovery of a lung tumor in spring 2015 was an awful surprise, coming just months after she retired from law practice. She took on cancer with the same ethic she applied to her cases, relentlessly researching her options. She came to know as much about the latest studies and clinical trials as her oncologists. Over nearly four years, she endured surgery, radiation and multiple exhausting rounds of chemo and other drugs. She kept friends updated through regular posts on The Caring Bridge website, her gifted writing somehow managing to make her difficult journey warm, funny and inspiring. It was the perfect reflection of her incredible spirit and strength. Janet strived to make the most of her last years, marking important milestones. Her proudest highlight was attending the May 2018 graduation of her daughter from the College of Charleston. She also joyfully reconnected with Atlanta classmates at the 40th reunion of North Fulton High, Class of 1977. She organized long weekend gatherings on St. Simons Island with her closest lifelong friends from the University of Georgia, where she earned two degrees -- a bachelors's in Journalism in 1981 and a Juris Doctor in 1984 -- and danced many nights away in Athens clubs to the music of then-obscure bands. Decades later, she remained an actual card-carrying member of the REM Fan Club. In January, she celebrated her 60th birthday with her husband and her daughter, who spent hours helping her mother reply to a flood of birthday wishes. It was an outpouring of love for a woman who, above all, was a true and loyal friend. Janet always aspired to do the right thing. She was gentle and quiet by nature but a vocal advocate for the environment, women's rights and civil rights. She also was a lifelong rescuer of lost dogs, always carrying a leash and treats in her car just in case. Though she spent the last half of her life in South Florida, Janet was a Georgia girl at heart and had won a promise from her husband to move back to Atlanta. Her cancer diagnosis put that dream on hold. Cumberland Island, off the south Georgia coast, was her favorite place in the world. Over the years she and her husband celebrated a number of special occasions at Greyfield Inn, where Janet loved reading in a porch swing or walking the pristine, uncrowded beach. The sea always left her happy and at peace. Some of her remains will be spread at the Cumberland seaside and in Biscayne Bay.
A memorial service will be held at Covenant Presbyterian Church, 2461 Peachtree Rd., Atlanta, on Saturday, March 23, at 11 a.m. A celebration of Janet's life will follow, which also will be held at the church. In lieu of flowers, consider a contribution to Gilda's Club, the Bonnie J. Addario Lung Cancer Foundation or any reputable cancer-fighting organization. A celebration of her life will be scheduled at a later date for her friends in South Florida.
Janet wore a bracelet inscribed with this: Courage is moving forward in the face of fear, one step at a time. She never strayed from that belief.
"Janet is a friend from high school days and we spent some time together after college as we both were trying to figure out our pathways into the world. Such great conversations and she is such a solid spirit. We need more like her in the world. Good Journey Janet - Love You. Stewart Saunders"
"I worked with Janet at the Law Department in Atlanta and she was such a pleasure to work with and know. I was saddened to hear of her sickness and passing. She influenced many people and always had a smile and hug. I pray for peace for all. Blessings...Arubra Stovall (Hembree)"
"Love and prayers from Emma and Bob Smart We have really enjoyed getting to know Janet and Zoe and Curtis through our ties at SSI, Ga. Maude and Jim, your family has truly encouraged Janet to be strong. God bless you all during this difficult time."
"Blessed to be next door neighbors for over 20 years, our family will miss Janet's gentle spirit, love of her dogs and passion for her GEORGIA Bulldogs. Prayers for her family. Dan & Stormy Schevis "