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Joseph L. Brogan

January 16, 1940 ~ November 21, 2018 (age 78)

 

A lifelong Philadelphian, Joe was raised in the Grays Ferry neighborhood of South Philadelphia, raised his own children in Overbrook, and enjoyed a long retirement in the Andorra section of Roxborough.

 

Joe was raised by loving parents who gave him the opportunity to attend Saint Gabriel’s School, Saint Joseph’s Prep (Class of 1958), and St. Joseph’s University (Class of 1968). He was also active in a wide range of CYO and neighborhood sports programs while growing up.

 

During college, Joe took a break from his studies to serve in the United States Army, assigned as a Military Police Officer at Fort Gordon, Georgia, from 1963-1965. It was during this time in the South, that Joe discovered his lifelong passion for golf.

 

Returning to Philadelphia as a veteran, Joe continued his education and public service, graduating from St. Joe’s University, and joining the Philadelphia Department of Recreation. Joe also served for several years as a school teacher in South Philadelphia, teaching Math at St. John Neumann from 1970-1976.

 

As Joe was earning promotions and gaining responsibility in the Recreation Department, he decided to focus on family and end his formal teaching career, but he was a capable manager and generous mentor for the rest of his career.  Prior to assuming citywide responsibilities, Joe was assigned to recreations centers in South Philadelphia, Center City, and Northern Liberties.

 

As an adult, Joe continued his engagement in youth sports, serving as an IAABO approved basketball referee at the high school and NCAA levels. He often used his weekends to help his three children compete in various Catholic League sports, including baseball, basketball, and golf. Joe also helped organize and competed in many charitable golf outings.

 

Starting in the late 1970’s, Joe was part of the leadership team that created the Broad Street Run, and continued to support the growth of one of America’s best loved urban races throughout his career. This event has introduced hundreds of thousands of city residents to the health benefits of running while showcasing dozens of city neighborhoods throughout the course.

 

In 1980, Joe was appointed as the Director of the Mummers Parade, establishing warm and productive relationships with all of the Mummers organizations. During his 15 years of leadership, Joe was well-respected for his fairness, decisiveness, efficiency and ability to successfully bring together many stakeholders for one of Philadelphia’s largest and most historic events. Joe served as a Board Member for the Philadelphia Mummers Museum and earned inclusion as the first non-Mummer in the Mummers Hall of Fame, as well as numerous other awards from individual clubs and all four divisions.

In 1982, Joe married Maryellen (Barrett) Brogan, and it was the start of an excellent personal and professional partnership. Together Maryellen and Joe raised three children (Christopher Barrett Sheridan, Joseph Brogan, III, and Lisa Schafer). As managers in the recreation department, Joe and Maryellen had many common interests and experiences, and often advised one another, developing and improving programs, and generously investing their time in young executives, who in time became some of the best managers in city government. At home, school was a priority and all three children received an excellent education, many opportunities for enrichment, and solid values which have guided them in their lives and careers.

 

As Director of the Junior Baseball Federation during the 1980s and early 1990s, Joe partnered with the Philadelphia Phillies and was a prolific fundraiser for community recreation programs, with focus on little league baseball. This program not only enables kids in every Philadelphia neighborhood to participate in our national pastime, but has also served as a great fundraising training ground for generations of recreation managers and community leaders.

 

In 1995, after 37 years of government service, Joe retired as the Deputy Commissioner of the Philadelphia Department of Recreation. During his retirement, Joe pursued his long-held interest in real estate and developed several properties in Philadelphia and Sea Isle City. Throughout his life, Joe was proficient at a wide range of construction work (including plumbing and electrical), and also enjoyed maintaining and repairing family cars, and was a knowledgeable resource for friends and family who were buying a car – both for getting the right car, and getting the right price.

 

During his early retirement years, Joe began taking annual trips to Palm Beach County, to be able to enjoy golf year round. One week per year in Florida, became two weeks, became one month, and ultimately in 2008 Joe and Maryellen bought a condo on the intercoastal waterway, spending each winter season with a great group of friends and family, who shared their interests in watching sports, playing golf, dining and enjoying the sunshine.

 

In 2011, Joe and Maryellen welcomed the first of four grandchildren (Sydney, Tyler, Joey, and Jackson), babysitting each of the children for a couple days per week during their preschool years. As a grandfather, “Poppy” had been very enthusiastic and enjoyed every minute of his time with the children. They love to sit in “Poppy’s Chair” and eat “Poppy Crackers” (which are Ritz to the rest of us), and go to Poppy’s beach house. Joe was also fortunate to be very close to his son-in-law Steve Schafer and daughter-in-law Jordan Brogan, both of whom were devoted to Joe and shared many meals and ball games with him. In spite of many health challenges, Joe was positive and optimistic and nurturing throughout his life, looking forward to seafood dinners with his children and grandchildren, Thanksgiving with his brother and sister and their families, golf with his many friends, crossword puzzles, burgers with lots of ketchup and extra blue cheese, Philadelphia newspapers, HGTV, the Phillies, the Eagles, and Big 5 basketball.

 

While our family will greatly miss Joe as a husband, father, and grandfather, we take comfort from all of the wonderful memories we have, all of the experiences he provided, all of the people he helped, and his example at home, at work, and in the community.

 

He is the beloved husband of Maryellen (nee Barrett) Brogan.  Loving father of Joseph L. (Jordan) Brogan III and Lisa (Stephen) Schafer.  Step-father of Christopher Sheridan.  Brother of
Regina M.  (the late Robert) Whyte  and William Lawrence  (Isabelle) Brogan.  Also survived by
4 Grandchildren; Sydney, Tyler, Joey, and Jackson.   And many nieces and nephews. 

Relatives and friends are invited to attend his Funeral Mass Wednesday, Nov. 28th at 11:00 AM at St. Philip Neri Church, 437 Ridge Pike, Lafayette Hill, PA 19444, where friends may call from 10:00 to 10:45 AM at the church prior to Mass

Interment SS. Peter & Paul Cemetery. 

Friends may also call Tuesday from 6:00 to 8:00 PM at St. Philip Neri Church.

 

In lieu of flowers, please consider a donation in memory of Joseph L. Brogan Jr. to one of the following:

Saint Gabriel Catholic Church - https://saintgabrielphilly.org/  (2917 Dickinson Street, Philadelphia, PA 19146)

Wounded Warrior Project - https://www.woundedwarriorproject.org/  (4899 Belfort Road, Suite 300, Jacksonville, FL 32256)


 

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