Cover photo for Doloris Cogan's Obituary
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1924 Doloris 2016

Doloris Cogan

July 28, 1924 — June 29, 2016

Doloris Carolyn Cogan, 91, died in Elkhart, Indiana, at Hubbard Hill Retirement Community after a short time in hospice care, following a full and fabulous life.

Funeral services will be held at 10:30 A.M., Saturday, July 16, 2016, in the Prairie West ELCA/UMC Church in Potter, Nebraska, with Pastor Betsy Galloway-Carew officiating. Burial will follow in the Potter Cemetery. A Celebration of Life will be held at the Unitarian Church, 1732 Garden Street, in Elkhart on Saturday, July 23, at 10:00 A.M. Contributions may be given to the church.

There is no visitation at the funeral home in Sidney.

Doloris was born on a farm near Potter, Nebraska, on July 28, 1924, to George A. and Margaret (Jensen) Coulter, who preceded her in death, as did one sister, Thelma Rose, and two brothers, James Coulter and George Coulter, Jr.

On October 6, 1950, she married Thomas J. Cogan. To this union three sons were born: Thomas J. and Richard B., both of Bristol, IN, and Douglas (Susan) of Plainfield, NH. She is survived by two grandsons, Lee and Jay and several nieces and nephews.

Doloris was an honor graduate of Nebraska Wesleyan University in 1945 and of Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism in 1946. From 1946 – 1950 she was editor of publications for the Institute of Ethnic Affairs in Washington, D.C., and from 1951 – 1955 she was Pacific Area Assistant in the U.S. Department of the Interior. In 2008 the University of Hawaii Press published her memoir of those years entitled, “WE FOUGHT THE NAVY AND WON: Guam’s Quest for Democracy”. It was nominated for the Ridenour Award in 2009.

From 1965 – 1972 Ms. Cogan was manager of public relations for Pepperidge Farm, Inc., in Norwalk, CT. In 1972 she became international director of public relations for Miles Laboratories, Inc., which was acquired by Bayer AG of Germany in 1977. In this position she was the first woman employed by any pharmaceutical company to serve as director of PR at the corporate level. She made several trips to Germany and in 1984 coordinated 45 events celebrating the Centennial Anniversary of Miles.

Upon retirement in 1987, Doloris made the first of seven trips to Russian in pursuit of her lifelong interest in nuclear disarmament and world peace. In 1990, she founded, in Elkhart, a chapter of Women for Meaningful Summits, headquartered in Washington, D.C., and in 1991 became national secretary. That group evolved into Peace Links of Elkhart County, and in 2000 she received the organization’s Grassroots Leader Award. Shortly after, she co-founded Women’s Action for New Directions of Northern Indiana (WAND). In 2009 Doloris was named winner of WAND’s Volunteer Award, and in 2010 she was a finalist in the Torchbearer Awards sponsored by the Indiana Commission for Women.

Doloris was also a member of the U.S. League of Women Voters from 1955 through the rest of her life. In the 1970’s she became active with the Elkhart County Democratic Party, and ran for state representative in the 1992 election. In 2008, she was awarded the Lifetime Service Award for her significant contribution of time, talent, and treasure to the Democratic Party of the Third Congressional District.

Always active in her community, Doloris was elected Elkhart County Senior Queen of the 4-H Fair in 1996. From then until 2004, she served on the Indiana State Extension Board. She was a lifetime member of the NAACP, a member of the Altrusa service club, a member of the Elcona Country Club, a member of the Greater Elkhart Chamber of Commerce, and of the Service Club of Retired Executives, among other local groups.

As a member of Sister Cities International, Doloris represented Elkhart at Burton-upon-Trent, England, and at Kardzhali, Bulgaria. But her travels began much earlier, with a family trip by motorcar over the rough roads between Nebraska and California, when she was a little girl. During WW II, she and a college friend visited Yellowstone National Park at a time when very few people were there. She first visited Hawaii when there were only two hotels on Waikiki Beach, and she visited Machu Picchu before it became a tourist destination, sometime around 1950. In her retirement years she also traveled with her sons to Alaska, China, and Europe.

A lover of the arts, Doloris encouraged the development of Moscow Women Artists, and facilitated their trip to Elkhart, where the group displayed and sold some of their work. As a devotee of the theatre ever since attending Broadway shows while a grad student in New York City, she established and endowed the Doloris C. Cogan IUSB Summer Theatre Series at Elkhart’s Lerner Theatre.

Doloris joined All Souls’ Unitarian Church in Washington, D.C., in 1948, transferred to the Westport Unitarian Church in Connecticut in 1955, and to the Unitarian Universalist Fellowship of Elkhart in 1974, where she served as president in 1982 and chair of the membership committee for many years after that. 
 Holechek Funeral Home and Cremations in Sidney is in charge of local arrangements.
To order memorial trees or send flowers to the family in memory of Doloris Cogan, please visit our flower store.


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