Coping with Grief
We would like to offer our sincere support to anyone coping with grief. Enter your email below for our complimentary daily grief messages. Messages run for up to one year and you can stop at any time. Your email will not be used for any other purpose.
After years of valiantly managing congestive heart failure, Michael E. (Mike) Hogan passed away peacefully at the University of Alabama Hospital in Birmingham on October 28, 2023, at age 76. The family thanks the many doctors and nurses of the Central Alabama Veterans Administration Medical Centers (CAVHCS) in Tuskegee and Montgomery and the Birmingham VA Medical Center who cared for Mike over the years. Special thanks to Dr. William A. A. Foster, cardiologist at the CAVHCS in Montgomery, whose tireless attention was a blessing and a balm.
Mike was born on April 2, 1947, in Belfast, Maine, the first of six children, to Edward W. and Barbara H. Hogan. He grew up in Wallingford, Conn, where he first demonstrated a passion for long-distance sports, with swimming laps and running cross-country. In 1967, he enlisted in the U.S. Army and served three years, working stateside in Hawk Missile Repair and as an Electrical Instructor. During that time, he earned the National Defense Service Medal as a Sharpshooter. After completing active service in 1970, Mike returned to Wallingford and began what became a life-long love of bicycles and racing.
The 1970s saw Mike’s development and maturation as a racer. Twenty-three in 1970, he competed in short races for North Haven Bike at Hartford’s Colt Park, co-founded the Laurel Bicycle Club, and trained hard while working construction. After wins in Connecticut’s state championships on the road and track in 1972, he was asked to join the Connecticut Yankee Bicycle Club sponsored by the British frame building company, Witcomb Bicycles. In 1975 Mike qualified for the National Time Trial Championships in Milwaukee. The next year he finished top five in the United States Cycling Federation (USCF) District Championships in both the road and track events. Wearing the Dawes Cycles jersey, Mike won the Mount Washington Hill Climb in 1977. Two years later he moved to Athens, Ga., working in construction while racing for Gene Dixon of Dixon’s Bicycles. In 1980, Mike rode in Dixon’s first Athens Twilight Criterium. He raced as a Cat 1 through the 1980s, but unfortunately the USA Cycling (USAC) retains race results only back to 2002, and further details are not currently available.
In Athens, he met fellow racer and forestry student Lisa Samuelson and in 1989 they married (divorced 2008). They moved to Blacksburg, Va., where Mike continued racing, winning Silver in the Masters II Road Race of the Commonwealth Games in 1991. In 1994 they moved to Auburn, Ala. where Lisa joined the faculty of Auburn University.
Mike continued racing while he broadened his construction work to include fine carpentry and furniture making. For four years he partnered with Herb Rabren, an established Auburn contractor and fellow cyclist, working on a variety of structures in the area. Notably, they transformed the Auburn train depot into The Depot, now a favored eatery. Mike was most proud of their work restoring and remodeling the Applebee-Shaw House (1954) on Chewacla Dr., designed by the nationally recognized architect and Auburn University graduate Paul Rudolph. They shared pride in their largest project, the extensive remodeling of the Easter Seals Achievement Center on West Thompson Circle in Opelika.
In furniture making, Mike combined his love of wood and his design aesthetic. For the house on Oak Bowery Road, he designed and built a museum-quality sideboard that graced the dining room. He loved heart pine and reclaimed still beautiful boards from many sources--including the interior of an abandoned railway car on the property--that he refabricated into dining and console tables and nightstands. More recently he became enamored with the work of Dutch furniture designer Gerrit Rietveld, particularly his iconic Red and Blue Chair (1917), its simple form belying the precision involved in its construction. Mike made a faithful copy of this museum piece and went on to make a kitchen table and chair set and two end tables in the same Rietveld style.
It was also in Auburn that Mike’s photography skills flourished, perhaps following on his parents’ shared interest and a great-grandfather who ran a professional photography studio. He shot the plates for two textbooks that Lisa wrote--in 2003, “Forest Trees: A Guide to the Southeastern and Mid-Atlantic Regions of the United States”; and in 2020, “Trees of Alabama,” published by the University of Alabama Press. The journal New Phytologist featured Mike’s photographs on at least three covers in 2004 and 2006.
Mike later turned to documenting Alabama’s cultural landscape. In 2008 he won the Auburn Preservation League’s color photography award for his photograph of the Drake-Samford House at the corner of Drake and N. Gay. But his black and white photograph of the 1858 Fitzpatrick Methodist Church captured hearts. In 2016 it won an award at the Auburn City Fest Juried Art Exhibition and in 2018, a Purchase Award by the Lamar Dodd Art Center of Lagrange College, where it remains in their collection. Most recently, Mike’s black and white photograph of “Dixie King” (cotton gin yard in Bostwick, Ga.) won top honors at the Auburn Art Association’s Photo XX Annual Exhibition in 2019.
All the while, Mike was active in the Auburn-Opelika cycling community. He sat on the Auburn Bicycle Committee and served as President of the East Alabama Cycling Club for many years. He designed the club kit along with posters and tee-shirts for the Club’s annual Johnny Ray Century charity bike ride. He perhaps revived his Army instruction training in the popular workshops he held on bike fit and bike mechanics. In addition to his accomplishments in cycling, carpentry, and photography, he enjoyed hiking in England’s Lake District, birding, and model building. He will be much missed by these communities and more. Mike leaves behind his sisters, Karen Hogan (Doug Julin) and Kathleen Hogan (Bob Williams, sons Sam and Ben Williams), brothers Stephen Hogan, Kevin Hogan, and Kerry Hogan (Jeanne Hogan, daughter Kylen Higgins, and son Dylan Hogan), and Angela Lakwete, his partner of many years.