LOVING WIFE, DEVOTED MOTHER AND GRANDMOTHER
Dorothy Mary (Egner) Ogan, age 83, of Honolulu, passed away 26 April 2012. She was born in Topeka, Kansas, to Percy R. and Edith F. (Troxell) Egner. She grew up in a farming community near Ozawkie, where her family had deep roots on land purchased by her paternal great-grandparents in the 1850’s. Her spiritual roots ran deep as well, as her maternal grandfather was a prominent Lutheran minister.
Her humble farm background taught her the value of working hard and gave her an appreciation of things others sometimes take for granted, like running water, indoor plumbing and electricity. It also gave her a strong foundation of cooking, sewing and gardening, which she utilized throughout her life. She was a good student, graduating from Ozawkie Rural High School as salutatorian at the age of 16. She graduated from Washburn University in Topeka with a Bachelor’s Degree in Music with emphasis on vocals.
While at Washburn, she became engaged to her high school sweetheart, Billy Gene Ogan. They were married at First Lutheran Church in Topeka on 26 June 1948, and would have celebrated their 64th anniversary next month.
Bill was in the Air Force, and Dorothy soon learned the rigors of being a military wife. Their first child, Debbie, was born while Bill was halfway around the world serving in the Korean War. After he returned, and after the birth of her second child, Mike, she had to keep the family organized during moves to several different air bases, including Karamursel, Turkey. On that particular move, she had to manage the two kids by herself since Bill was required to be there in advance of the family.
Following her return from overseas, Dorothy put her experiences, photographs and souvenirs to work, creating a slide show called “In the Footsteps of Paul”, tracing the Biblical Paul’s travels in Asia Minor and Italy, which she presented to school classes and church groups.
Music was always a big part of Dorothy’s life. Her mother taught music and English at the local school. As a young girl she sang at numerous weddings, funerals and community events. While at Washburn, she became a member of the Sigma Alpha Iota (SAI), an international professional music fraternity.
She taught music for three years in the high school at Denison, Kansas. As a military wife, she was active in music in several far-flung locations, including Milwaukee, Wisconsin (Milwaukee A Capella Chorusters), Amarillo, Texas (Amarillo Chorus), Turkey (Karamursel Air Base Chapel choir director) and Tulsa, Oklahoma (Tulsa Opera and Symphony choruses).
In 1966, the family moved to Honolulu, where Dorothy sang alto in numerous organizations, including The Honolulu Chorale, Honolulu Symphony Chorus, Hawaii Opera Theater Chorus, The Don Allton Singers and The Skylarks (women’s chorus at Hickam Air Force Base). She directed the choirs at Pearl Harbor Lutheran Church and Prince of Peace Lutheran Church in Waikiki. She also was a soloist at the Temple Emmanu-el Synagogue for several years. Dorothy’s career with the Hawaii Opera Theater Chorus spanned nearly 40 years, where she sang in two or three operas each year, beginning with La Boheme in 1967 and most recently Turandot in 2005. In addition to performing, she taught piano lessons privately from 1967 to 1999.
Dorothy always had a love for dogs, especially cocker spaniels, which she bred and raised for many years. She was a member and officer of the Hawaii Cocker Club, and was a handler in numerous dog shows for her cockers, many of which became champions.
She is survived by her husband, Billy G. Ogan, Honolulu; daughter, Deborah S. Ogan, Virginia Beach, VA; son, Michael C. Ogan, Honolulu; grandson, Adam G. Ogan & wife, Mayumi T., Honolulu; brother, John M. Egner & wife, Kathryn H., Overland Park, KS; sister, Irene T. Plymate & husband Glenn, Merritt Island, FL; and sister-in-law, Myrtle E. Whiteside, Granbury, TX.
Funeral service was held Wednesday, 9 May 2012, at the Borthwick Mortuary Maunakea Chapel followed by burial at the Hawaii State Veteran’s Cemetery. Memorial donations in the name of Dorothy Egner Ogan may be made to Prince of Peace Lutheran Church, PO Box 88269, Honolulu, HI 96830-8269 or Friends of Washburn Music, Washburn Endowment Association, 1700 SW College, Topeka, KS 66621.