Craig Morgan Recalls the Day His Son, Jerry, Drowned

by Clayton Edwards

Craig Morgan has held many jobs over the years. He was a paratrooper in the U.S. Army before getting into country music in 2000. After a stack of hot albums and hit songs, the “Bonfire” singer found himself at the center of a reality show called Morgan Family Strong. Now, he’s added author to that list of professions. His memoir God, Family, Country hits shelves on September 27.

In the book, Craig Morgan shares stories from various stages of his life. He worked alongside the CIA in South America. The country star went undercover to bust sex trafficking rings in Thailand. We’ll get to read about all of that. Additionally, Morgan shares stories from his music career and how he forged his own path to fame. He’s also sharing some deeply personal memories with his readers.

Craig Morgan Relives the Day His Son Jerry Drowned

People ran a handful of excerpts from Craig Morgan’s memoir. In those passages, Morgan told the story of the worst day of his life.

Jerry came to Craig and Karen Morgan when he was nine months old. A little less than two years later, the couple went through the formal adoption proceedings to make Jerry a part of the family in the eyes of the law. However, Craig and Karen knew he was their son from the moment he arrived as a foster. “There was an immediate connection,” between the couple and the boy.

Jerry grew up to be a well-liked kid and a star athlete. He also enjoyed fishing, swimming, and tubing on Kentucky Lake near the Morgans’ Tennessee home. In 2016, Jerry was at Marshall University in West Virginia attending a football camp and a program for freshmen. One Friday morning, he hopped in his car and made the drive home.

“That Friday morning, there was a knock at the door,” writes Craig Morgan. His wife’s irritation at having a visitor at 6 in the morning evaporated when she saw her at the door. This was the beginning of a life-altering weekend for the family.

“That night, Jerry went with me to the Grand Ole Opry, where I was doing a show. The hour it took to get to Nashville was my hour with him. We talked and joked,” Craig Morgan recalled in his memoir. The next day, Morgan had to do an out-of-town show and was gone overnight.

“Sunday I was back home and at our pool, enjoying the sun with Karen. Jerry was tubing with friends on Kentucky Lake. He and I texted back and forth. I didn’t want him to go back to school without spending more time with us,” Craig Morgan said, looking back at their final conversation.

“Not too much later, around four o’clock, I got a phone call from a friend of mine in law enforcement who told me there’d been an accident on the lake. Jerry had gone under and they couldn’t find him.”

A Loving Farewell

Craig Morgan wanted to help law enforcement search for his son. However, his fame drew too many onlookers. They were hampering the search. As a result, Craig told the sheriff he would leave but he needed the lawman to promise that he and Karen could be there to take Jerry out of the water. “I’m his daddy and it’s my responsibility to get him out,” Morgan told the sheriff.

Hours later, Craig and Karen Morgan got the inevitable phone call. They headed back to the lake. At the same time, the sheriff sent an ambulance and a team to a very visible part of the lake. Press and onlookers flocked around the clever decoy.

In a separate cove, Craig and Karen Morgan went to see to Jerry. “I went down in the water. Jerry’s hands were clasped and he had a peaceful look on his face,” Morgan wrote. “He gazed upward as if glancing toward heaven. Karen kissed him on the head. We placed him in the ambulance and said our goodbyes.”

To this day, Craig Morgan isn’t sure what happened to Jerry. All he knows is that it was “a freak accident.”