Joseph Grogan, age 92 of Fort Washington, PA, passed away, peacefully in his sleep on May 13th.
The Mighty Oak first took root on June 16, 1931, in Tuckahoe, NY, the youngest of six children. He grew up through the Great Depression and WW2, in a house centered around the upright piano and filled with song, graduating from Cardinal Hayes High School, then after serving in the US Army stationed in Japan during the Korean War, Joe entered the seminary at Maryknoll in Glen Ellen, IL, where he studied for two years.
Fate steered him away from the priesthood, and Joe graduated from Iona College, taking a job as a teacher with the New York City Public Schools.
It was in the summer of 1960, when on a trip to the Jersey Shore, Joe met the other half of his heart, Veronica Ello, who would become his wife, and remain at his side for 61 years, only leaving when she herself passed on just over a month ago.
The next six decades saw Joe and Veronica move to New Jersey, starting a family that would grow to five children. Joe would teach in the Marlboro, NJ, schools from 1966, where he would remain until his retirement in 1997.
The story of those many years was not unlike the construction of a great monument to the concepts of parenthood and family, with Joe and Veronica placing brick by brick, hand in hand, the structure growing stronger with every passing day.
Though he was an educator by profession, Joe’s story was also that of a musician, and scholar of music. Through the years he was teaching, he charted a parallel course as a working musician and entertainer, spending countless weekend evenings sharing his mastery of the piano, encyclopedic knowledge of song, and mellifluous, Crosby-esque voice in restaurants, piano bars, country clubs and at private parties.
He also carried on the Grogan family tradition of music in the home, sharing music with his children, grandchildren and friends with a rare enthusiasm and generosity of spirit that many of them carried on into their own lives and careers.
The Mighty Oak grew to shelter and nourish all around him, doubling as the great traveler, known to his family as Macho Mingo, who, behind the wheel of a car, often with a camper in tow, blazed a path on the highways and byways of the country literally from sea to shining sea, sharing the history he loved with his children and grandchildren. He continued to explore - his beloved Veronica at his side - long after his well-deserved retirement. He never stopped learning, always seeking to understand the world around him until the very end.
He departs this plane, taking with him a huge heart and a wealth of knowledge and musical lore, but leaving in his wake, not a void, but a veritable forest of descendants who will carry his spirit on into the future. He is survived by his children Laurence (Jennifer), Laura, Christopher (Isabel), Vincent (Anne) and Melissa (Steven). Grandchildren Miles and Sean Grogan, Conor and Kathleen O’Mara, Mia and Theodore Grogan, Gabriel, Ezra, Noah, Jackie, and Lilly Block, and Luna and Rain Gore. He is also survived by his sisters Agnes and Catherine. Joe was predeceased by his wife Veronica, parents Frank and Mary Rose, his brothers Jack and Frank and his sister Mary.
There are no immediate plans for service or visitation, but a memorial gathering will take place at the family home in Fort Washington, PA on Saturday July 8th, details to follow.
In lieu of cards and flowers, donations may be made to St Francis Friends of the Poor, NYC: https://www.stfrancisfriends.org Joe would appreciate it if you all kept fighting the good fight by voting, getting involved and standing up for your fellow man.
Our family would like to express our sincere thanks to the many wonderful aides, nurses and doctors who cared for our dear Pop.
Arrangements by Shaeff-Myers Funeral Home.