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“Jack was my advisor and favorite prof. I have tried to emulate him in my teaching career. ”
1 of 4 | Posted by: Scott Hartman - Seville, OH

“He was a great person and it was a privilege to have know him. Our condolences to Ann and the family. Neil and Cheryl ”
2 of 4 | Posted by: Cheryl Sheinin - Akron, OH

“Offering sincere condolences to your family. May God's promise comfort and sustain you during this difficult time. John 6:40. ”
3 of 4 | Posted by: A friend

“Offering our deepest sympathies during this time. ”
4 of 4 | Posted by: The Staff of Bissler & Sons Funeral Home - OH


John Joseph "Jack" Gargan, a political science professor known for his enthusiastic teaching style and love of language and family, died June 1 with his family by his side.

Born December 16, 1934, in Auburn, New York, to Joseph W. and Margaret F. (Murphy), Gargan, Jack grew up in Auburn and graduated from Holy Family High School in 1952. He proudly attended the United States Military Academy then earned a PhD in Political Science from Syracuse University.

Jack and his wife, Ann, moved to Kent in 1967 when he joined the Political Science Department of Kent State University (KSU). He was a member of the Department until his retirement from full-time teaching in 2002. He loved teaching and arrived ready to teach every class prepared and with passion.

In 1992, he received the KSU Alumni Association Distinguished Teaching Award during a time when he was on leave to research his latest book. "This especially means a lot to me,'' he said when hearing of the honor, "since I'm not even teaching this semester.''

He valued the life-long friendships he developed with many of his colleagues, and he took great joy in the accomplishments of his students. He treasured hearing from many of them through the years and made sure to tell his family when past students checked in with him.

Throughout his life, Jack was a Democrat committed to promoting social justice and equality for all people, said his daughter, Bridget, who advocates on behalf of Ohioans with developmental disabilities.

"He was most passionate about helping students who were the first in their families to attend college,'' she said. "He saw the impact that higher education had on his life, happily saw his kids earn college degrees and took pride in the children of others he inspired along the way.'''

His primary teaching interests, at both the undergraduate and graduate levels, were in the fields of state and local government, intergovernmental relations and public administration. Late in his career, he developed and taught a course on the Politics of War, a course which grew out of a hobby of military history.

Jack frequented the KSU Wellness Center and enjoyed current movies, spending time with his family and weekly or monthly lunches with his wonderful friends and colleagues. He always had a newspaper or book in hand and loved words and a clever turn of phrase. He considered his life full, rewarding and joyful.

He is survived by Ann, his beloved wife of 57 years, and his children, in whom he took great pride: John Jr., Bridget (Ron Ulanowski), James, and Ernie the Newfoundland. Other survivors include, a sister, Margaret (Richard) Diehl; sister in- law Rachel (Mark) Rott; and a number of cousins, nieces, nephews and many dear family friends. Preceding him in death were his granddaughter, Hallie, his parents and brothers Peter and Tom.

The family wishes to thank the dedicated staff at the Gables of Kent Ridge and the compassionate, caring team of professionals at the Cleveland Clinic Akron General Medical Center Hospice.

Per Jack's wishes, he was cremated with a celebration of life service to follow at a later date. Memorial contributions may be made to the Jack Gargan Columbus Program c/o the Kent State University Foundation, 350 South Lincoln St. Kent, Ohio 44242.