Dan Rogan's final meet-and-greet was supposed to be held at the Fairmount Wine Bar, but a last-minute change was made to accommodate what was expected to be a large gathering. So, on Monday, November 18, Rogan's family and close friends arranged a get-together at B Side on Coventry, thinking there would be more room to move around.
For many in that congested lower-level bar, it would be the last time they saw their friend Dan Rogan, who passed away from cancer just four days later. Looking around the room, which was jammed wall-to-wall with a who's who of Cleveland players, it was clear just how much the guy meant to so many people. Just as he had done for decades as a career bartender, Rogan pulled in a killer bar crowd.
"Try and bring your sense of humor and leave the tears at home," was the family's request to those planning to attend. While there were plenty of tears, there was also plenty of laughter, as friends related stories, one-liners and escapades about a true local legend. For his part, Rogan patiently received every last one of them, though clearly lacking his customary vigor.
For decades, Rogan was a staple both behind and in front of Cleveland's best bars. His infectious laugh, his mischievous sense of humor, and his larger-than-life personality made whatever bar he happened to be working at the place to be. Off the clock, he lived life to the fullest — "livin' foul," he called it — making every social event he attended worth attending.
Rogan was one of the few people on Earth who managed to simultaneously live life on his own terms while offending nobody else. His unselfish acts for others are well documented, and he afforded every other human being the same level of courtesy regardless their station in life. He was loved by thousands because he loved thousands.
Dan Rogan was supposed to die last spring, but medical intervention at the insistence of friends and family managed to turn his health around — at least for a while. For many, it gave us the chance to share one more drink, have one more belly laugh, and tell a man how much we loved him. For that, we consider ourselves forever thankful.
The following is Dan Rogan's obituary, courtesy of his family.
Daniel Martin Rogan, longtime resident of Cleveland, OH passed away on November 22, 2013, surrounded by his loving parents and siblings at the family home in Somerset, NJ. He is survived by his parents, Pat and John, and siblings Brian, Eileen, Noreen, Kathleen and Sean. In addition, Dan is survived by his sister-in-laws, Kathy and Kim, brother-in-law, Bob and fourteen nieces and nephews: Brendan, Tara, Caitlin, Danny, Connor, Kelly, Colin, Christy, Sean, Grace, Maeve, Liam, Mary and Clare.
Danny was born on September 7, 1962 in Bronx, NY. The family moved to Somerset, NJ in 1965. He was a communicant of St. Matthias Catholic Church and a graduate of St. Joseph's High School, Metuchen, NJ and John Carroll University, Cleveland, OH.
Blessed with a sharp Irish wit and an outgoing personality, he evolved into a legendary bartender who fell in love with Cleveland, and Cleveland with him. He always had a joke at the ready. His sense of humor was unmatched, and he took great joy in adding new friends and making people laugh.
The family would like to thank Dan’s best friend, Kathy Blackman, of Cleveland Heights, OH. She and her family were there for Danny every step of the way.
At the time of his illness, Dan was working at Lola Restaurant in Cleveland, which is owned by his close friends the renowned “Iron Chef,” Michael Symon and his wife, Liz.
Family will receive friends on Monday, November 25, 2013 at Gleason Funeral Home at 1360 Hamilton Street, Somerset, NJ 08873 from 2-4 and 7-9 pm. A funeral mass will take place on Tuesday at 10:30 am at St. Matthias Church, Somerset. In lieu of flowers, please consider a contribution in Dan's name to the Visiting Nurse Association Health Group Hospice (Attn: RWJ Hospice), c/o Foundation Office, 176 Riverside.
For more about Dan Rogan, read this wonderful feature written by Scene's Sam Allard.