Joe Cogan

Joe Cogan in cab of hay truck at The Cogan Ranch, Nathrop, Colorado.

86, Generous rancher/historian never hesitated to teach or volunteer

Joseph “Joe” Cogan passed away on the family ranch Oct. 31.

He was born on Aug. 20, 1934 to John Cogan and Elizabeth ( Esser) Cogan. He grew up on the family ranch in the company of six older siblings.

He graduated from Buena Vista High School in 1952 and then moved to San Diego, Calif., to learn aircraft mechanics while working for Northrop Corp.

He returned to the ranch after a couple of years and worked there the rest of his life. He was passionate about expanding the ranch and preserving the land and wildlife.

He believed that he had to take care of the land so it could take care of him. He never missed a day of work for about 2 months after his official retirement in 1999 and continued to help around the ranch until his death.                                      

 Joe married Arlene Struna on Sept. 17, 1960. Together they had three children; Bruce, Laurie and Brian.

He was preceded  in death by his parents and two siblings, Sr. Leanne and  Jeremiah.

He is survived by his wife, Arlene, his three children and their spouses, and siblings Jack, Sr. Kathleen, Sr. Elizabeth, and Mary Margaret Eggleston. In addition he has seven grandchildren and three great grandchildren. 

Joe was well known for his generosity. He allowed use of his ranch to nearly anyone for almost anything, free of charge. He served on a multitude of boards, committees, and service organizations over the years but he is probably best known for his membership in the Chaffee County Fire Dept. and  Chaffee County Search & Rescue. His abundant size and strength along with his knowledge of the area made him quite an asset.

Joe was passionate about the local area and history. He loved to recount stories passed down through his family and shared them with anyone who was interested.  He also loved to fish, hunt, motorcycle, ATV, 4 wheel, fly, hike, ride horseback, and anything else that was done outdoors.

He is sadly missed by his family and friends and his passing has left a hole in the hearts of many in Chaffee County and beyond.

Due to difficulties created by the COVID circumstances, a small private family service will be held. The family asks that donations be sent to the Buena Vista Pregnancy Center, 28350 C R 317, #12 Buffalo Peaks Center, Buena Vista, 81211. Donations can also be made online at