August 29th, 1958-November 21st, 2022
It is with profound sadness that we announce that Daniel Michael Cooligan died unexpectedly on November 21, 2022, at his home in Goulais River, Ontario. He was 64.
Born in Ottawa on August 29, 1958, Dan was the eldest son of Rachel (Lapointe) Cooligan and the late Garret Joseph Cooligan; brother to Michael (Jacqueline), Roxanne (Stuart), Andree (Jaana) and Noelle (Sean); uncle to Fiona, Benjamin, Sara, Colin and Michael; nephew to Veronique Bonnick, Marcelle Lapointe, Maureen Doyle, Desmond and Shirley Cooligan, and Neil Cooligan.
Dan is survived by his long-time companion, Janice Lewton of Sault Ste. Marie, Michigan, and her daughters Carly Lewis and Pamela Claussen and grand-daughter Olivia Claussen. He is also survived by many cherished cousins and friends.
After attending Canterbury High School in Ottawa, Dan studied forestry at Algonquin College and obtained a diploma as a Forest Technician. Inspired by his love of the outdoors and after spending many summers fighting forest fires in northern Ontario -- including being lowered into fire zones by helicopter --Dan obtained a Bachelor of Science in Forestry from Lakehead University in Thunder Bay.
Dan loved both policy and communications work so it was a natural transition when he joined Ontario’s Ministry of Natural Resources in Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario. Dan ran countless outreach and research initiatives across Ontario and Canada related to Sustainable Forest Management. As a Forest Legislative Policy Advisor, he was responsible for bench-marking forestry programming and legislation of other Canadian provinces and countries. Dan was a member of the Ontario Professional Foresters Association and his work included a secondment to the Canadian Forestry Association in Ottawa, where he fronted a wide range of national and international forestry issues. Dan was well read, articulate, intelligent and insightful, which made him a trusted advisor to many ministers and colleagues for decades. He was an authority on forest legislation, silviculture, forest management and cultural heritage. Dan retired from the Ministry in 2016 after which he continued to consult on forestry issues.
While Dan loved his work, this pales in comparison to his love for his family, his girlfriend, his many cats over the years (Big Kitty, Little Kitty, Small Big Kitty, Pumpkin, Cheetah and Molly), his dear cousins Mark Doyle and Natalie Bonnick and his friends -- Kevin, Sharon, Joanne, John, Mark, Craig, Tom, Peter and too many more to name. Friends from his youth remained his dear friends forever. On Goulais Lake, Dan shared an important camaraderie with Frank, Paul and Ted, who were always eager to lend a hand and join in a meal. Dan also had many important work colleagues and friends with whom he remained in touch after his retirement. Dan loved his people and said it, with meaning and with a big heart, and he showed it by visiting family and friends often, across Canada and the US, and by opening his home as a respite for many.
Dan’s last love was his retirement home on Lake Superior, his “Camp Goulais.” He spent his retirement surrounded by his forest and mother Lake Superior. He was at peace and very happy, living his best life. He busied himself building and fixings things, gardening and tending to his green houses. He was always inviting friends and family to visit and loved to prepare amazing feasts, especially at Christmas and Thanksgiving. He was a great cook and a gracious host, most often the last to turn down the music and head to bed.
Dan was a presence, a helper, a generous friend and, as his mother often said, a diamond in the rough. He lived his life to the fullest. He was a hiker, a driver, a skier, a thinker and a reader. He was a world traveller but most often returned to his favourite spots: Europe, Jamaica, Florida and Columbia. He loved to “broast" on sandy beaches, ski snowy northern climes and enjoy local cuisine. He would easily make friends with people at the table next to him, anywhere in the world. He loved conversation. He was an intellect, a news media junky and a debater. He held and shared opinions with conviction but without judgment. He was a strong advocate for civic responsibility and lived his life with integrity.
Dan will be greatly missed. Our only consolation is that he died doing what he loved at his camp. His weakened heart broke suddenly that day, but pieces of it survive in all of us.
Friends and family can pay their respects at Moose McGuire’s (3320 McCarthy Road, Ottawa, ON) on January 2nd from 2 to 4 PM when we gather to celebrate and remember Dan’s life. In lieu of flowers, take someone dear out to dinner in his memory.
Arrangements entrusted to the Arthur Funeral Home - Barton & Kiteley Chapel (492 Wellington Street East 705-759-2522). Fond memories and expressions of sympathy may be shared at www.arthurfuneralhome.com for the Cooligan family.