John P. Cogan

SOUTH PORTLAND – John P. Cogan, 82, originally of South Portland, passed away August 29, 2020 at his home in Easton, Mass.

A 1956 graduate of South Portland High School and then Yale University (class of 1960), he taught math at Brockton High School for several years. Both he and his wife Martha whom he had known since high school, served on the bargaining team for the Brockton Teachers Association. In 1974 he left teaching to work for the Massachusetts Teachers Association where he negotiated teachers’ contracts across southeast Massachusetts until his retirement in 2003. He dedicated his career to fighting for the rights of teachers and improving the way the region values schoolteachers, one case, one contract at a time. In the 1970s he won a historic, precedent-setting case that fought discrimination against teachers who had taken maternity leave. He was a master negotiator, highly respected by all and much loved by the people he represented in different cities and towns across southeast Massachusetts.

John enjoyed working on cars and was happiest helping his colleagues, friends, and neighbors in any way he could. He was also a consummate storyteller who, at many memorable moments, laughed until the tears came to his eyes. He enjoyed summertime Sea Dogs games and holiday gatherings with extended family. To ten nieces and nephews, and their families, he was their much-loved Uncle Jack who had the sparklers on Fourth of July, took the kids on motorcycle rides, and made simply the best burgers at family cookouts. In the last 11 years, he enjoyed his role as Grampa immensely, always delighted to watch and play with his grandchildren.

John is survived by his wife of 58 years Martha E. Cogan; by his daughters Kathryn Cogan and husband David Kahill of Portland and Pamela Maddock and husband Ian Maddock now in Sydney, Australia; and five grandchildren, Lachlan, Phoebe, and Silas Maddock; and Cordelia and Maeve Kahill. He was a devoted brother to Jim and wife Carolyn.

He was predeceased by his parents the late John B. and Ethel S. Cogan of South Portland and Scarborough; and his older brother William Cogan and wife Dorothy Cogan of Casco, Maine.

Services will be private.

Arrangements entrusted to Hobbs Funeral Home, South Portland. Online condolences may be expressed at

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