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COOGAN MICHAEL COOGAN (Age 81) Inventor and diplomat, born April 23, 1931 to Amy Donlan and Michael E Coogan, will be remembered not only for his professional contributions, but also for his many years of heartfelt service to the community as a volunteer. He was a beloved husband, father, grandfather, brother, and friend, and a man known for his offbeat but ever good-natured sense of humor. Michael died at home on January 27, 2013 after complications from a fall. Mr. Coogan was born in Seattle, where he grew to love the outdoors. His sense of adventure found him exploring the Olympic Mountains, where he led 5-day-hikes as an Eagle Scout. Physics was his first academic love, but his intellectual curiosity also brought about a fascination with radio. In high school, Michael passed his radio engineer's exam and became licensed with the FCC. He ate up the days spent as a substitute radio station operator and announcer, where he ran the equipment, read the news and commercials, and was in charge of selecting music and running serial programming. Michael laughed years later remembering an irate farmer's call to the station the day he forgot to play the Lone Ranger installment. A student at the University of Washington on a naval ROTC scholarship, Mr. Coogan served in the navy during the summers and then on the destroyer USS Point Cruz. After college, Michael went to work at NASA, and it was there that he invented the "dual fly-by mode' of taking measurements of a planet through the atmosphere using a platform on each side of the planet. He earned his Master's degree in Biophysics at Stanford University at that time, as well. In the early 1970s, Michael joined the State Department and was sent to Paris as science attaché. He later served at the American Embassy in Ankara, Turkey. After retiring, Michael and his wife, Trish, settled in the Washington, D.C. area. He returned to school and then went back to work as a nurse practitioner. Of course, for as long as his family could remember, Michael had been taking classes in microbiology and anatomy and physiology, just for the love of learning. A devoted volunteer for many years, Michael enjoyed giving so much back to the community that he loved. He provided medical care and listened compassionately to clients in difficult life circumstances at Zacchaeus Clinic and Bread for the City, where he served as a nurse practitioner. Michael was a born counselor, always available with a listening ear. His regular expression of gratitude for life and the love of those around him made him quite an extraordinary man. His family and friends adored him, and we will miss him terribly. Our Michael is survived by his wife, Patricia, of 54 years; his daughter Cathy Keen and son-in-law Steve Stark, his daughters Aimee Coogan, Aileen Coogan, and Courtenay Allen; and his grandchildren, Alanna Coogan, Holly and Finn Allen, and Rory Bernard-Coogan. Michael also has two brothers, Patrick and Joseph Coogan, several close cousins, and his men's group brothers. He counted many other friends among his family as well. Services and interment will be at Arlington National Cemetery on October 21 at 12:15 p.m. in the Chapel.Services and interment will be at Arlington National Cemetery on October 21 at 12:15 p.m. in the Chapel.
Published in The Washington Post on Oct. 18, 2013