Stanley Cogan, Queens Historian And Cemetery Buff, Was 86
Stanley Cogan, former Queens Borough Historian, passed away on September 12 at the age of 86.
Cogan, a former teacher and assistant principal, was a prolific authority on the history of Queens serving as its official historian from 1999 until 2010. His main focus was the history of local cemeteries. He advocated for their preservation and cleanup projects.
Cogan dedicated his time and energy by documenting the cemeteries of Queens including the rare and sometimes forgotten private family burial grounds sparsely scattered across the borough.
His love for cemeteries earned him the nickname, “The Head Stone”.
Cogan, who helped inspire the Queens Preservation Council, a citywide, grass-roots organization that promotes and preserves historic areas, was also president of the Queens Historical Society from 1990 until 2005 where he helped with tours and exhibits while contributing to the society’s newsletter.
As president he fought for landmark preservation for numerous Queens locales especially his beloved ancient family burial grounds many of which were missing the original tombstones and lacked any proper dedication or acknowledgment marker.
Cogan, who started his career as a piano player, went on to teach elementary school and became an assistant principal at P.S. 40 in South Jamaica.
“Stanley Cogan was a Renaissance Man,” Queens Borough President Helen Marshall said. “He knew the beauty of art and architecture, he knew the lessons that history taught us and he knew how important it was to protect and preserve the legacy of the generations that have gone before us. He committed himself to a multitude of historic causes, including his years of service as our borough historian, his work with the Queensmark program, his years of passionate dedication to the Queens Historical Society and his love of knowing that an artifact, whether it be an old sign or newspaper, brought the past back to life.”
Cogan, who was interred at Mt. Lebanon Cemetery in Glendale last Sunday, is survived by his stepdaughter, Susan Rhodes and two grandchildren, David and Rebecca. –Jason D. Antos