Longtime Juneau resident Jack Coogan, 81, died unexpectedly on Dec. 7, 2004, while inspecting a construction project in Juneau.
He was born Nov. 24, 1923, in County Leix, Ireland, to Dennis and Elizabeth (Kavanagh) Coogan; he was the second of eight children.
At age 14, he began an apprenticeship with his father whereby he was trained in the classical "old school" style of carpentry and building. His apprenticeship with his father was the beginning of a wide-ranging construction career spanning 67 years and four continents.
At age 19, he left Ireland to work for the War Office on the weapons research facility in Berkshire, England. After the war, he worked on a multitude of projects across Africa, Australia, New Zealand, Canada and the United States. He also worked in Fiji, Tasmania, and similar far-flung locales. He married his beloved wife, Anne Fuhr in 1953 and started his family in San Francisco. In 1955 he began working on many projects across Alaska, including the White Alice and DEW line projects. The family moved in 1957 to Sitka, where he worked on building the pulp mill, and in 1959 to Juneau, where he resided for the rest of his life.
In 1968 he began contracting in Juneau and later joined with his sons to undertake construction work in Southeast Alaska. He retired from contracting in 1995, but quickly went back to work doing what he loved until his death, his family said.
His interests included hunting in his younger years, history, studying birds, and traveling. He longed for his family in the "old country" and particularly enjoyed his occasional visits to them, his family said. He was an avid reader and he possessed a remarkable sense of humor, his family said. He loved to recount stories of adventure arising from his earlier worldwide career travels. He was a notable member of Juneau's Irish community and a devoted member of the Cathedral of the Blessed Virgin Mary in Juneau.
He was preceded in death by his wife, Anne Coogan, and sister, Rose Cumerford.
He is survived by his four children, Lloyd, Wayne (Claire) and Gene Coogan and Vera (Terry) Thomas, all of Juneau; seven grandchildren, Chad Thomas, David Coogan, Crystal Coogan, Spencer Thomas, Jack Coogan and Anne Coogan, all of Juneau, and Alyssa Coogan of Chemanis, B.C.; sisters, Maureen Rake of London, Eilish Coogan of Portlaoise, Ireland, Nuala O'Regan of Dublin, Ireland, Kathleen Flanagan of Tipperary, Ireland; brothers, Dennis Coogan of Portlaoise, Ireland, and Paddy Coogan of Carlton, Australia; and numerous nieces and nephews in Ireland, England and Australia.
His family said: "Although he led a very accomplished life, he will be mostly remembered for his cheerful, gentle and dignified personality. His conduct always set a wonderful example for others."
There will be a memorial service at 1 p.m. Dec. 15 at St. Paul's Catholic Church with a reception in the parish hall after. All friends are invited.
Memorial donations can be made to the Glory Hole, 247 S. Franklin St., Juneau, AK 99801.
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