Mayor Steve Hogan remembered at memorial for tireless Aurora advocacy

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AURORA | The consensus at Mayor Steve Hogan’s memorial Saturday was that even a week after his passing, Hogan probably hasn’t given up on public service.

Shortly after he “passed through the pearly gates,” radio host Rick Crandall joked during a eulogy for Hogan, the former state lawmaker, city councilman and persistent advocate for all things Aurora probably asked if there was an opening on the transportation committee.

Hogan’s son, Tim Hogan, remembered waiting up late for his dad to come home from city council meetings and said the drive that motivated his dad to spend long hours serving Aurora probably hadn’t diminished.

“I’m sure he is running for some office in heaven,” he told the hundreds gathered for the late mayor’s memorial at Heritage Christian Center.

Tim Hogan said that while his dad had an unwavering commitment to Aurora, he was every bit as dedicated to his family.

“He always tried to make time for us individually, to make us feel special,” he said.

He remembered his dad waking up at 3 a.m. and taking him and his sister to see Haley’s comet in what was back then among the darkest spaces in Aurora. Today, that chunk of land is probably somewhere near E-470 and East Sixth Avenue, he said, one of the many corners of town that has seen break-neck growth in large part thanks to Hogan’s vision and advocacy.

Hogan died May 12, just a few days after announcing he was beginning home hospice care for cancer.

Before he died, Hogan wrote a letter to the city thanking the community he had served in some capacity or another since 1979.

Hogan’s son in law, Marcus Pachner, said that in those last days Hogan also took time to make sure his family knew how much he loved them.

“And he actually made some minor policy suggestions,” he said with a laugh.

Wendy Mitchell, president of the Aurora economic Development Council, said Hogan’s work is on display across the city, from the E-470 toll road that facilitated Aurora’s rapid eastward growth, Stanley marketplace in northwest Aurora, two booming Amazon facilities and the Anschutz medical Campus.

Chief among those accomplishments is the Gaylord Rockies Resort and Convention Center in northeast Aurora, which is set to open later this year.

The hulking hotel has been almost a decade in the making and Hogan was among its fiercest advocates, first working to lure the world-renown hotel chain here, then battling the projects opponents in court before the project finally became reality.

“There was no doubt in his mind that we would come out on top,” she said.

In Hogan’s honor, the convention center will be dedicated to the late mayor, Mitchell announced Saturday.

Former Aurora Mayor Dennis Champine said Hogan was the template for a public servant and his passion for Aurora never waned.

“As much as anyone,” he said, “Steve is Aurora.”