Edmond G. Coogan, 57, Vineyard Haven attorney and chairman of the Tisbury board of selectmen, died on Friday, March 23, at home with his family after a 22-year battle with cancer. He was born in Boston in 1943, the son of the late William H. Jr. and Virginia M. Grimes Coogan, and began spending summers on Martha's Vineyard in 1944 — first in the family cottage in Oak Bluffs, and then at the St. Pierre School of Sports in Vineyard Haven.
He was graduated from Boston College in 1966 and received a master's degree in public affairs from the State University of New York in Albany in 1968. In 1971, he married the former Liza Dwyer of Pittsfield; they moved to the Vineyard shortly afterwards.
Mr. Coogan taught government at the Martha's Vineyard Regional High School, then left to become a planner for the Martha's Vineyard Commission. He was elected to the Oak Bluffs board of selectmen, where he, along with a group of visionaries, helped nurture the cultural and economic renaissance of Oak Bluffs. While a selectman, Mr. Coogan commuted to Boston to attend Suffolk University Law School. He received his J.D. and was admitted to the state and federal bars in 1984.
In 1985, Ed and Liza moved to Vineyard Haven. He served on the Tisbury board of assessors and the Island school committee. In 1996, he was elected to the Tisbury board of selectmen, on which he served until his death.
Mr. Coogan spoke of his cancer as a gift, saying it made him more tolerant of his own and others' foibles. It heightened the pleasure he took in his friendships and, most importantly, it intensified his already fierce focus on his family. Mr. Coogan was a lawyer and avid supporter of the Martha's Vineyard Arena, and enjoyed sailing and gardening.
He leaves Liza, the love of his life and his wife of 30 years; his three devoted children, Will Coogan of Los Angeles, Geoghan Coogan of Dorchester and Virginia Nelligan Coogan of Tisbury; his two brothers and sisters in law, William H. Coogan and his wife, Kim, of Portland, Me., and Gregory A. Coogan and his wife, Sharon, of Oak Bluffs; several nieces and nephews, and a huge circle of friends and a community touched by his passion for public service, a community that, in turn, touched him with its beauty and support.
The funeral service was held on Monday, March 26, at the Old Whaling Church in Edgartown. Donations in his memory may be made to the Edmond G. Coogan Public Service Scholarship Fund, c/o Martha's Vineyard Cooperative Bank, P.O. Box 668, Vineyard Haven, MA 02568. Arrangements were by the Chapman, Cole and Gleason Funeral Home in Oak Bluffs. For more information and to visit the funeral home's online guest book, go to www.ccgfuneralhome.com.