James E. Coogan 

James Coogan

GUILDERLAND — James E. Coogan, of Guilderland, was a gentle man who loved painting and singing and who passed his love of music on to his children and grandchildren. 

He died peacefully, surrounded by loving family, on Wednesday, Oct. 16, 2019, his family wrote in a tribute. He was 91. 

 A longtime resident of Guilderland, Mr. Coogan, together with his wife, Barbara Childs Coogan, was very involved in the community and “contributed countless hours in leadership activities,” his family wrote. Mr. Coogan brought a fun-loving and energetic spirit to everything he did, the tribute said. 

He was an active member of the Christ the King Parish and a longtime member of the church choir. He belonged to the Catholic men’s organization the Knights of Columbus for 64 years and served two terms as the Grand Knight, the equivalent of the organization’s presidency. He was also a member, and served as an officer, in the Benevolent and Protective Order of Elks in Guilderland. 

Mr. Coogan was born on July 5, 1928, the eldest son of the seven children of the late James P. Coogan and Margaret Stevens of Albany. 

He served in the United States Navy, where he was an aerial photographer. He then applied to work at General Electric in Schenectady as a photographer, but instead was hired there as a welder and sheet-metal worker, which he did for 32 years. 

After his retirement, he became a school bus driver for the Guilderland Central School District, which he loved doing, because “he loved the kids,” recalled his daughter, Patricia Huntington. 

When he stopped working as a bus driver, he worked, to keep busy, as an aid at Guilderland Elementary School, helping in the cafeteria, said his daughter. 

He was an artist and did oil paintings, said Mrs. Huntington. 

Mr. Coogan enjoyed singing and for a brief time was in a barbershop quartet. At night, he would sing his children to sleep with “all the old songs,” his daughter said, like “Mairzy Doats.” 

He and his wife both loved to get dressed up and make people laugh, for Halloween, Christmas, parades, and church variety shows, according to Mrs. Huntington. “They were characters,” she said. 

The couple had first met through friends, while out dancing. She asked him to the Sadie Hawkins dance, his daughter said. 

Mrs. Huntington concluded, “He was a proud Irishman, happy-go-lucky, jovial. He liked to make up little limericks and jokes to make people laugh. He’d tell us the same ones over and over.” 


James E. Coogan is survived by his children, Patricia Huntington and her husband, James; Michael Coogan; Colleen Jennings and her husband, Brian; his grandchildren Matthew Huntington and his wife, Jacklyn; Daniel Huntington; Andrew Huntington; Michael Coogan Jr.; Justin Coogan; Brendan Coogan; Kerri Jennings; and William Jennings. 

He is also survived by his two great-grandchildren, Eloise Elizabeth Huntington and Adalynn James Huntington, and by his siblings: Charles Coogan and his wife, Lillian; Margaret Bondorew and her late husband, John; Gerard Coogan and his wife, Ingrid; and Robert Coogan and his wife, Rita.

Survivors also include his sisters-in-law, Virginia Collins and JoAnn Coogan, his brother-in-law, Joseph Childs, and several nieces and nephews. 

His wife, Barbara Childs Coogan, died before him, as did his sister, Ann Whipple, and her husband, Robert, and his brother, Bernard Coogan.

Relatives and friends are invited to calling hours on Wednesday, Oct. 23, from 4 to 7 p.m. at Newcomer Cremations & Funerals at 343 New Karner Road in Colonie. The parish family of Christ the King will gather at Newcomer at 4:30 p.m., during the calling hours, for a service of prayer and remembrance. All are welcome. 

A Mass of Christian Burial will be celebrated on Thursday, Oct. 24, at 10 a.m. at Christ the King Church at 20 Sumter Ave in Westmere. Interment will follow in Memory Gardens, Colonie.

Mourners may leave condolences online at altamontenterprise.com/milestones.

Memorial contributions may be made to an organization of choice.

— Elizabeth Floyd Mair 

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