It is with deep sadness mixed with great joy that I inform you of my father's passing Tuesday morning at 5:15am, of prostate cancer. His gift to us and himself of a beautiful death capped off an incredible life.
Dad was fully reconciled with himself, his family, friends, and God, and was ready to pass on to the next world. He was exactly where he wanted to be: at home, with all his family, and not in any pain. The previous morning he said his goodbyes to Mary, my brothers Sean and Kevin and I, our wives and Kevin's daughter Flavia, and we gave him permission to leave us. Ever the student, he asked me how he could pass on through. Sadly, I could only advise him to let go and wait for someone to bring him towards the light. He was also visited by his oldest brother Tom at this point and said goodbye to him as well. Around noon dad stopped responding but we knew he could still hear us.
Al Lawn (his friend and rowing buddy since firstgrade at St Francis Xavier, Roman Catholic HS, U Penn and Vesper) came with his wife Peg and stayed with Chuck for some time, so I am sure that Dad knew he was there. Al was a great comfort to us that day and he told us that he always considered Chuck his brother and best friend. I'm sure there are many of you who feel the same way, as dad had that way of finding and nurturing the best in everyone he met. We stayed with dad all that day and thru the night, keeping him comfortable and secure.
After midnight I could no longer feel a strong pulse as his heart was weakening. Just after 5am, Sean awoke the rest of us, as dad's breathing had slowed and grew shallow. We all held him and kissed him and said our goodbyes one last time, again telling him it was time to go. Then mom held him and talked to him, and within two minutes he slipped ever so peacefully away. I then read to him again "On Death" and "On Marriage" from Kahlil Gibran's The Prophet, and Kevin led us in singing dad's favorite lullabye "Boy Of Mine".
I cannot explain to those of you who were not there the aura of peace, love, tranquility and oneness that built up to his grand finish and lingeredwith us for hours afterward. It is something I will never forget and treasure always.
Kevin's daughter Flavia, recent Harvard grad in religious studies, had talked the night before to a friend, who was staying on an island off Florida with the Buddhist monks of the Dalai Lama. Flavia told her then that her Pops was near death, and asked for the monks to pray for him. A few hours after dad's passing, the friend called Flavia, unbidden. She said that the monks had lit candles for dad and prayed through the night. They stopped just before dawn, as they had felt the presence of a great soul passing through the heavens, being met by all his friends who had gone before. Even Death could not stop dad fromsharing his joy with all of us!
The notice of my father's death will be in the local Philadelphia papers today through Friday, but for those of you out of town, I'll reprint it here at the end. An obituary will appear in Thursday or Friday's Inquirer and Daily news, and will be available along with all details of the viewing and funeral on the Vesper Boat Club web site:
Our web editor John Godbehere is also planning an email box at the web-site. I ask all of you to write about your favorite Chuck Colgan story and send it to the website where we will be posting them to a bulletin board for all to share. As dad loved to tell stories about the great times he had with his friends, the family would appreciate you returning the favor as a tribute to his memory
On November 30, 1999, Charles P. Colgan of Ardmore, PA, beloved husband of Mary (nee McDonnell) Colgan, loving father of Kevin C., Sean P., and Brian E. Colgan, brother of Thomas, and the late Edward and Joseph Colgan; also survived by 10 grandchildren. Relatives and Friends are invited to his Viewing Friday evening from 7 to 9 P.M. in THE FUNERAL HOME OF JOHN STRETCH, East Eagle and St. Denis Rds., Havertown and to his Mass of Christian Burial Saturday at 1:00 P.M. in the St. Denis Church, Havertown (next to the funeral home). Interrment SS Peter and Paul Cemetary.
In lieu of flowers, an offering in Mr. Colgan's name to either the Vesper Boat Club Restoration Fund 10 Boathouse Row, Kelly Drive, Phila., PA 19130 or to Roman Catholic High School, c/o the Charles P. Colgan Scholarship Fund 301 N. Broad St., Phila. PA 19107 would be greatly appreciated.
Love and God's grace to you all,