John Hogan: A Larger-Than-Life Legacy

By Mike Carrozzo

Larger than life, full of joy and exceptionally insightful. This is how many will remember John Hogan, the beloved member and former president of SHARE who passed away on Oct. 29, 2017.

For more than four decades, John was an integral volunteer with SHARE, serving as president of the organization from 1976-1978 — the last individual to serve a one-year term, as the bylaws changed in 1977 to provide two-year terms.

Beyond that, his roles included Member, CPS Project, Deputy Manager, CICS Project Chairman, CICS Accounting Committee, Deputy Manager, DB/DC Applications Division, Member, Advisory Council, Member, Nominating Committee and Director of Divisions Chairman, Advisory Council.

But for all the roles he served with SHARE through the years, perhaps his most significant came without an official title: mentor.

Robert Rosen got to know John when John appointed him to the Advisory Council in the mid-1970s — and furthermore when Rosen served on his nominating committee.

“My fondest memory is when John gave me the following piece of advice: ‘Don’t let the BS get you down and ultimately, it’s all BS. Live your life, do what you think is right, and don’t let the doubters bother you,’” recalls Rosen. “Of course, his language was somewhat more colorful.”

As a constant source of advice and guidance, John was an individual whom Rosen calls “the best of mentors, and an even better friend.”   

Like Rosen, Liz Kaufman met Hogan in the mid-1970s and considered him to be a great influence on her experience. To her, Hogan’s legacy is one that, “set the gold standard for mentoring in the organization.”

“He gave freely – so much time, so much good counsel, and so much wisdom from experience. It was ‘giving back’ on an unprecedented scale,” she says. “To the people who sought him out, he advised them willingly and with respect, using his sense of humor to ease any difficulties. To the board as a group, he offered guidance in their deliberations through the years, often pointing out unrecognized impacts of potential courses of action. On more than one occasion, he was tasked with taking on a thorny issue — and would always step up to it.”

To SHARE, he was an individual who identified talent in the community and proactively encouraged potential contributors to expand their roles. “Once they did so, he would become their mentor for life,” says Kaufman. “Even in his many years living in England, he would always try to coordinate business trips with SHARE meetings so he could be there, if only for part of the time, to help with whatever was needed.”

As a man who loved the organization, he believed in its mission and would do whatever it took to make SHARE more successful. “He built community within SHARE through his music, and although that music won’t be heard again, the legacy of common purpose that it inspired and supported will be carried forward in the hearts and minds of all who knew him.”

John led by example and set the bar high. He was the youngest president of SHARE and presided over the organization during a tumultuous time, recalled Ron Thielen, SHARE Past President. He guided SHARE through “a kind of identity crisis,” ultimately bringing the organization through it successfully and imparting what he learned to his successors.

“For the Presidents of SHARE who followed, John was always there to do whatever they asked of him without question. John understood that the while the title of Past President is a great honor, being a good Past President requires a continuing commitment and contribution to the organization,” Thielen said. Describing him as “the embodiment of SHARE spirit,” Thielen noted John could be counted on “as a sounding board who gave freely of his experience, wit, wisdom, and humor.”   

For Dan Galender, it will be Hogan’s love of family, friends and SHARE that he will remember most.

“Also, his sense of humor, his smile, and his powers of persuasion,” he added. “I was in London once on a business trip and one night John met me in town for dinner. I wanted to go out to some place that would be a little special (being in London and all). John wanted to go to McDonalds.  Suffice it to say, I had a Quarter Pounder with Cheese that night.”

Galender recalls a weekend with Hogan in San Francisco where he organized an outing for a number of music lovers to see some friends who played in what can be considered a “Kingston Trio Tribute Band.”

Galender details what happened next: 

“I had taken John to see them several times in the past and he got to know them, as well, and vice versa. Anyway, this particular evening was for dinner and the show, and John sat right up close to the stage with his steak bloody-rare. As the group came out and prepared to play, one of them looked down at John’s plate and said, “You know, John, a Band Aid might just save him.” John loved it!

“I knew most of the songs John sang, but once in a while he’d learn a new one to surprise us with and which would then go into his repertoire. Since he left us, I keep thinking about one of my favorites. Its chorus went:

Passing through, passing through
Sometimes happy, sometimes blue
Glad that I ran into you
Tell the people that you saw me passing through

An endearing personality, an infectious laugh, a love of music and an affinity for always picking out a great bottle of wine — these are the little lasting memories about Hogan that those closest to him will keep with them.

“John was a larger than life character, full of joie de vivre,” adds Rosen. “But behind that was a really smart guy who had valuable insights into people, processes and technologies. He was the best of mentors and an even better friend. John’s legacy is built into the fabric of SHARE. He helped others, shared knowledge, and had a good time while doing it.”

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