On the same day an early Spring election was called, came word of the passing of one of Lethbridge’s most impactful members of the legislative assembly.
Former Lethbridge-West MLA John Gogo died at St. Michael’s Palliative Care Centre on Saturday April 4, at the age of 83. He leaves behind his wife of 65 years and 5 children.
“He was a politicians politician. He knew how to diffuse a situation,“ said Shannon Donkersgoed, Gogo’s youngest daughter. “He was able to react appropriately. Even just in our family he could settle a situation, he could make us laugh.”
Gogo was born in Toronto in 1932, served in the Canadian Armed Forces and saw combat in the Korean war in 1949. When he left the army in 1962, he had earned the rank of sergeant. In 1975, Gogo ran under the Progressive Conservative banner in the riding of Lethbridge-West. He also served as advanced education minister between 1985 and 1992.
“I don’t think I have met an MLA before or since that enjoyed being an MLA as much as John Gogo,“ said former MLA Clint Dunford. “He really loved that job and he worked at it.”
Gogo left politics in 1993 and was succeeded by Dunford in the Lethbridge-West riding. Dunford says Gogo was an honorable man, but knew the importance of the opposition in politics.
“He knew there had to be dissenting. If you are going to have government you have to have opposition and if you don’t have opposition it has to come from somewhere. I am proud that I was part of the Gogo opposition.”
In May of 2007, Gogo was awarded an honorary Doctor of Laws degree from the University of Lethbridge.