New Castle News


July 9, 2014

Friends, colleagues remember former mayor Francis Rogan

NEW CASTLE — Former New Castle mayor Francis J. Rogan is being remembered as a great politician and a good, unselfish man.

Rogan, 89, died Monday.

When Rogan was elected mayor of New Castle in 1971, he was the first Democrat to win the position since 1927. He went on to win a second term in 1975.

Eugene DeCaprio, who was council president during Rogan’s tenure, said of him, “He was very good with people. He reached out to people.

“He was just very much in touch with the people of the community.

“We worked well with him. It was a good era.”

DeCaprio said that throughout his term of office and even afterwards Rogan “was a good friend of mine.”

He said that after leaving office, he and other council members and Rogan would meet periodically to have lunch “and talk about the good old days.”

“What a great guy,” Nick Navarra said.

Navarra worked for Rogan when he was treasurer, served as his campaign manager in 1971 and 1975 and also as executive director of the New Castle Redevelopment Authority.

Rogan’s first victory, Navarra noted, was significant because Republicans outnumbered Democrats at the time and he defeated an incumbent, Carl A. Cialella Jr.

“And Carl was a nice guy.”

Calling him “a father figure,” Navarra said, “I never heard him say a bad word about a person. I never saw him angry. He’s probably the most loyal human being I ever knew in my life.”

Navarra, who now lives in North Canton, Ohio, said he and Rogan talked at least once a week since he moved from New Castle.

Dominick L. Grant, who was elected to council in 1971, said, “My first experience in politics was with him.”

He described Rogan as “very unselfish.”

Grant recalls that when he and Rogan were campaigning in “the Italian community,” Rogan expressed his appreciation to Grant and told him, “now get yourself elected.”

“He was a typical Irish politician. He didn’t get into the gutter.

“He had a very contagious smile that won over a lot of people.”

Noting that the city was involved with many programs in the 1970s, including the community development program, Grant said, “It was a good time to be on council.”

“Franny was a good man, both in politics and outside politics. He was my dear friend.”


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