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Benjamin Joseph Colgan

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Benjamin Joseph COLGAN First Lieutenant Benjamin Joseph Colgan was a devoted husband and father, a loving son and brother, a world-class soldier and a friend to all. Those who knew him could attest to his generous spirit and ever-present smile, a smile that would on occasion turn into a mischievous grin. He'll be remembered as the life of the party and the spark of the family fire. His commanding officer described him as "absolutely fearless" and "the bravest, most decent and selfless man" he's ever known. Colgan died in combat on November 1st when a remote controlled bomb exploded as he was responding to another attack. He was 30 years old. Born in Seattle on February 7, 1973, Colgan, the fourth of eight children, graduated from Mount Rainier High School and immediately joined the army. He spent the next 12 years climbing the ranks of the military, eventually gaining entry into the army's elite Special Operations Group. In March of 2002 Colgan was an honor graduate of Officers Candidate School. He graduated with honors from the Chemical Officer Course in November 2002. He filled the Chemical Officer slot in Giessen, Germany in January 2003. As U.S. military units moved form Kuwait into Iraq, Colgan stepped forward again. "Ben approached us and said please don't leave me in the TOC (headquarters), use my Special Operations skills," recalled his battalion commander, Lt. Colonel William S. Rabena during the eulogy he gave in Baghdad, Iraq November 5th. "Ben gravitated to the toughest mission there was. He took the Survey Platoon and made them one of the U.S. Army's premier raiders. But did it with a calm, gentleman's approach. He was just so good at what he did that you felt safe around him." Colgan is survived by his wife Jill and daughters Grace and Paige, all of Aurora, MO. They lost their only son, Jacob, at birth. Jill Colgan is expecting a baby in December. Other survivors include his father Joseph and mother Patricia of Kent; sisters Gina Johnson (and husband David) of Buckley, Andrea Colgan of Buckley, Elizabeth, Emily, and Teresa Colgan of Kent; and brothers Stephen Colgan of Newcastle, and Nicholas Colgan of Des Moines. Grandmother, Laurene Colgan of Yakima, 9 uncles and aunts, 32 first cousins, and 7 nieces and nephews. A Mass Celebrating Benjamin's Life will be held Nov. 29 at 3 p.m. at Saint Philomena's Catholic Church, 1790 South 222nd St. in Des Moines. The Mass will be followed by a reception and dance at John F. Kennedy High School, 140 South 140th Street in Burien. In lieu of flowers, remembrances may be remitted to the Benjamin Colgan Memorial Fund at any Washington Mutual Bank branch.
Published in The Seattle Times on Nov. 23, 2003
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