Saturday, March 24, 2012

Leo Hogan

Leo LaBrune Hogan was born in St. Louis in 1900 to James and Anastasia Hogan. He was a great competitive swimmer.  He began college at St. Louis University, probably in the Fall of 1917.
Alton Evening Telegraph, Alton, IL, April 21, 1918
Leo Hogan of St. Louis in the Navy
   Friends in Alton have received word that Leo Hogan, eighteen year old son of Mr. and Mrs. James Hogan of McPherson avenue, St. Louis, has enlisted in the radio service of the navy and is at the Great Lakes Training Station near Chicago.  Hogan was a student of the St. Louis University and enlisted upon reaching his 18th birthday.
   He is the son of James Hogan, formerly of Alton, and is well known here, where the family visits frequently.  His elder brother, Lieut. Dan Hogan, is in the 432nd Aero Squadron, in the state of Washington.  Miss Marie Hogan, a sister, visits with Mrs. James B. Cahill of Madison avenue very often.
He served at the Great Lakes Naval Training Station for 16 months, first as a radio electrician, then as a hospital apprentice.  He stayed at Great Lakes as a swimming instructor and in 1920 travelled to the Summer Olympics as a men's swimming coach.

Alton Evening Telegraph, Aug 3, 1920
Leo Hogan, son of James Hogan, a former Altonian, but of recent years residing in St. Louis, has sailed for Antwerp, Belgium, as coach for the men from the Great Lakes Training Station at Chicago, who will participate in the Olympic meet.  Hogan is 21 years of age and is the youngest coach at the Great Lakes.  He has been coach at the Great Lakes since 1917.  He will spend the summer in Europe.  Hogan is the brother of Miss Marie Hogan, who visits frequently in Alton.

You can imagine the world wide excitement at the 1920 games.  The 1916 games that were to take place in Berlin had been cancelled in turmoil preceding the start of the first World War.  The 1920 games were held in Belgium, a country that had been occupied by Germany in the War.  [I don't know whether this location had been chosen long in advance, or was selected to symbolize the victory of the Allies in the War.]  Germany was not invited to the 1920 games.  In what must have been the lingering  euphoria of victory, a record number of athletes were sent to these games.  The five ring symbol of the modern Olympic Games was introduced that year. Duke Kahanamoku was the best known of the men's swimmers that year.

In about 1922, Leo graduated from St. Louis University and moved to Chicago.  In 1927, he founded Hogan & Farwell real estate, of which he was president until his death in 1948.  Hogan & Farwell owned some of the most prominent buildings in Chicago.  He joined the Navy again in World War II.  The following is probably from the Chicago Tribune:

One of his nieces remembers Leo saying that the most exciting thing he ever experienced was when his ship returned to the US mainland from duty in the Pacific, having crossed the Pacific Ocean.  When the ship passed under the Golden Gate bridge it was covered with cheering people welcoming them home.  Another recalls hearing Leo's stories of some of his shipmates tortured during the War.  They say he was not the same after his return.

His obituary in the New York Times summarizes some of his achievements:

New York Times, 5 June 1948
Leo L. Hogan, Headed Chicago Realty Men
Chicago, June 4 - Leo L. Hogan, former president of the Chicago Real Estate Board and a prominent real estate broker here since 1927, when he founded the firm of Hogan-Farwell, Inc., died today after a long illness.  His age was 48.

Mr. Hogan was elected president of the Chicago Real Estate Board in 1946 after serving a term as president of the North Central Association, a group of real estate dealers.

He came to Chicago in 1922 after he was graduated from St. Louis University in the city of his birth.  After working as a salesman for five years he established the firm of which he held the presidency until his death.

A veteran of both World Wars, he spent three and a half years as a lieutenant commander in the Navy during the recent war and won the Silver and Bronze Stars and the Purple Heart while serving aboard the carrier Intrepid in the South Pacific.

He was a member of the Racquet, the Chicago Golf, the Tavern and the Mid-Day clubs.

Surviving are a sister, Mrs. James L. Donnelley of Evanston, and a brother, Daniel.

Although he never married and had no children of his own, he spent a great deal of time with his sister's family, also in the Chicago area.  He reportedly drove his big sister nuts, his wild personality the opposite of hers.  But the children loved his antics and his stories.  He passed away at his home in 1948.  In a reflection of both his wild side and his prominence in the business community, his funeral was attended by the mayor of Chicago and the entire kick-line from the Club Alabam, one of the hottest night clubs in Chicago.

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