Cover photo for John Joseph Mogan's Obituary
John Joseph Mogan Profile Photo
John Joseph Mogan

John Joseph Mogan

d. February 8, 2024

John Mogan — Born in 1928 in Toronto and raised in Waterford and Paris, Ontario, John was the fourth of seven children born to James and Kathleen Mogan. 

John often recalled with fondness the closeness of his siblings, the education he received at Sacred Heart Separate School, his memories of playing Buck Rogers, and his early memories of music and playing the piano, a passion that stayed with him his whole life.  Some of his earliest memories of his sister Mary reading him the Rime of the Ancient Mariner by Coleridge were also formative for the musicality of language and the effect this had on his communication, love of reading and of his own writing.

 After graduating high school, he went to Saint Michael’s College at the University of Toronto where he was enrolled in the University Naval Training Division and travelled to his future home of Halifax, Nova Scotia for the first time.  He went on to get his Masters in English and taught high school english for 5 years at Etobicoke Collegiate.  He then returned to the University of Toronto to study medicine.  There he met his future wife, Dr. Ann Stewart-Burton. After working as a general practitioner in Richmond Hill for 6 years he and Ann moved to Massachusetts where he did his residency in Psychiatry.  He went on to work at many psychiatry sites in Massachusetts including the Lahey Clinic, the Deaconess Hospital, Charles River Hospital, and Metropolitan State Hospital.  After retirement he continued to work doing locums in Maine and Arizona.  The desert of the Southwest was very compelling to John and was the setting for his novel “At Nodder Butte”.  In 2007 he moved to Halifax.

 A life-long learner and leader, he was a leader in the Boston Great Books council, and made many lifelong friends through that connection. He was a passionate student of the piano and took piano lessons and practiced daily throughout his life.  He loved to sew and always had an elegant and stylish scarf that he had made around his neck. John was a passionate and eccentric gardener with a perenially green thumb.  He became an author, self-publishing many books, many to do with the heroics of his grandchildren and family.  He was a yearly attendee at the Stratford Festival in Stratford, Ontario and regaled the family with his yearly reviews, critiques, compliments and potential improvements of the various productions. He was an aesthete and loved music and language and poetry, and loved to share that passion with friends and family.  From 19th century opera, to classical ballet, to Gilbert and Sullivan, to the American Repertory Theatre in Boston, John was an avid supporter of the arts and a believer in critical thinking and engagement with art.


He had an  inviting heart and the gift of creating community.  From community concerts in the family home, to parties for the hospital staff of his workplaces, to the community of St Paul’s church in Wellesley, John always had an interest in everyone and everything around him.   His connections were strong with friends and acquaintances, especially his “congregation” at McDonald’s in Clayton Park.  John was a passionate letter writer and tended his relationships by reaching out regularly and often to let people know the news of his world and share his philosophy, passions and learnings.  Throughout his 70’s and 80’s he would regularly travel to Ottawa and Toronto to see siblings, nieces, nephews and in-laws, and to Alberta to visit his son Tom and his beloved Castle Mountain.

 He is survived by his son, Tom (Carolyn Wright) of Calgary, Alberta, his daughter, Norah (Nick Lenco) of Liverpool, Nova Scotia, his four grandchildren, Max and Sacha Wright, and Thomas and Kate Lenco.  He is also survived by his two younger sisters, Ann Vasilash and Kay Keenan of Mississauga, Ontario as well as many beloved nieces and nephews.  He is predeceased by his sister Mary and his brothers Jim, Donley and Murray.  He is also pre-deceased by his wife Ann, a partner in intellect,, medicine, art, books, bridge, kindly bickering, crocheting, travel by car, love of the Southwest and community building.

 Cremation has taken place under the direction of Chandlers' Funeral Home, Liverpool, NS. The family wishes to thank the nursing and medical staff at Queens General Hospital, especially Janet Himmelman, RN and Dr. Jamie MacKinnon, for their caring and compassion during our father’s final hospitalization. 



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