By Lyle Carter
It was more than 75 years ago that Bob Gogan first heard of Truro.
"My father (James), himself a ballplayer, a hockey player and later a coach, bragged about Truro and how good the hockey and baseball teams were," Gogan, 85, a longtime local resident, said. "When I was in Grade 5 and living in River Hebert he drove me to Truro and we watched a baseball game. That's my first memory of Truro."
Little did Gogan realize the role Truro would play in his life.
His family moved to Halifax and later Gogan graduated from Queen Elizabeth High School. After a year working for the Nova Scotia Board of Insurance Underwriters he attended the Provincial Normal College in Truro in 1949.
"I was happy to be back in Truro," Gogan recalled. "The first person I met was Hartley Weatherbee. We became good friends."
During the summer, following his second year at the local college, Gogan had a life-changing experience.
Marjorie Lynds, of North River, was attending Pine Hill Divinity College in Halifax and was a pitcher for the summer-school team.
"I was brazen enough to offer Marjorie a piece of advice about pitching," he said. "Walking off the field at the end of an inning, she said, ‘what would you know about pitching?' But after several games, Marjorie would change her mind and the courtship was on."
Beginning in 1950, Gogan taught science and economics for two years at Armdale Junior-Senior High School and two years at Alexandra School in Halifax.
"The going rate of pay was $1,100 a year," Gogan said. "The principal, Guy Parsons, called me into his office. He told me I was a good teacher but if I wanted to pursue a teaching career I would need more education or I was going to starve to death."
During the mid 1950s Gogan attended Acadia University, majoring in economics and history. Besides being outstanding in track and field, the well-conditioned all-around athlete played hockey for four seasons with the Acadia Axemen.
Marjorie and Bob were married in 1955 and Gogan accepted a teaching job at Central Colchester Junior-Senior High School in Onslow in 1957.
"The road kind of led to Truro," Gogan said. "I taught history, economics and science. I have been in Colchester County ever since."
In the fall of 1958 he moved to Truro Junior High School where Ralph Guy was the principal. Becoming vice-principal, Gogan also taught Grade 9 science.
After seven years, another move saw Gogan become principal of Cobequid Consolidated School in Old Barns for four years. In the second year of the Brookfield Junior High School, Gogan became principal.
Following seven years in Brookfield, Gogan finished his career as an educator as principal of Bible Hill Junior High School from 1979 until 1985.
"The wonderful kindness and respect I've received from my students, their parents and the school board mean a lot," Gogan told me. "Former students appear from time to time. I consider their compliments the most important I've had in life."
Gogan reflected on the lifestyle and people in the Truro area.
"I was intrigued," Gogan said. "I felt comfortable and I felt secure. We always lived in North River where we raised our daughter Connie and our son Robert. Coming to Colchester County has been a decision I never regretted."
Bob's wife Marjorie passed away in 2000. These days, three grandchildren play an important part in Bob's life.
The family man and outstanding educator loves music. Besides singing for 15 years with Truro Nova Tones, Gogan still sings with St. James Presbyterian Men's Chorus.
And, there has always been Gogan the sportsman.
Inducted into both the Acadia University Hall of Fame and the Colchester County Sports Hall of Fame, Gogan excelled in sports across Nova Scotia and throughout the Maritimes. Besides his success in hockey, softball, track and field and curling he was also a master equestrian.
A 20-year umpire, he umpired three national championships. Gogan was also a Nova Scotia Senior Hockey League referee.
A man with tremendous wit and a bag full of extremely funny stories, Gogan can be serious.
"I've been blessed with good health and I've always stayed active," Gogan said. "I'm very thankful to God."
TAGLINE: Lyle Carter's column appears every Tuesday in the Truro Daily News. If you have a column idea, contact him at 673-2857