Charles E. Grogan
Specialist 5, United States Army
"He could come across as gruff, but he loved people," said former wife and longtime friend Sharon Grogan of Binghamton. "He was brutally frank at times, but it was tempered with love."
Grogan, 58, died Tuesday at his Colesville, New York, home after a long battle with liver disease.
A former New York State Police trooper, the Binghamton native was featured in a May 1976 news story after he returned a Catholic Central High School class ring to a former student who lost the memento nine years earlier.
Grogan was doing a routine state police scuba-diving drill at Oquaga Lake near Deposit when he found a mint-condition class of 1967 ring. A neighbor who attended the high school searched the class roster and traced the ring to Paul V. Fiacco, then 27, who recalled losing it at a picnic.
From 1968 to 1981, Grogan worked out of the Endwell and Kirkwood barracks before being forced to retire with a disabling back injury, his family said.
He was among the first wave of state troopers to swarm into Western New York to quell a bloody riot by inmates at Attica Correctional Facility in September 1971, his son, Patrick Grogan, said Friday.
Grogan's no-nonsense attitude carried over to his off-duty life.
"You never had to guess what he was thinking because he'd tell you," said Patrick Grogan, 32, who lives in Kansas.
He remembered his father's fondness for President John F. Kennedy's 1961 inaugural rally cry: "Ask not what your country can do for you, ask what you can do for your country."
"That's why I went into the Army," Patrick Grogan said.
The elder Grogan served in Vietnam with the U.S. Army and was a member of Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 478 in Binghamton.
At a later date, Grogan will be buried with military honors at Arlington National Cemetery, his family said. There is no local viewing or funeral service.
"He had a good heart," Sharon Grogan said.
"He had a lot of love for people."