Dr. Jon Dana Goguen, 71, passed away suddenly on Tuesday, July 26, 2022, shortly after being diagnosed with Glioblastoma. He leaves behind his loving wife of 49 years, Cheryl A. Poirier; his devoted daughter Amber D. Goguen and her husband Douglas A. Kirkpatrick of Worcester; 4 brothers, Peter J. Goguen of Limerick, ME, Jay D. Goguen of Hubbardston, Robin A. Goguen of Lunenburg, and Alan M. Goguen of Lawrence; 3 sisters, Patricia H. Silvestro of Temple, NH., April L. Gendron of Fitchburg, and Randy C. Goguen of Tracys Landing, MD, plus many in-laws, nieces, nephews, extended family, and friends. He also leaves behind his doting cat Ndebe (Be).
Jon was born in Fitchburg, MA, the son of the late Arthur Peter and Helen (Barholm) Goguen. A graduate of Fitchburg High School, he went on to earn a Bachelor’s degree in biology from Fitchburg State College and a Master’s degree and Ph.D. in zoology from the University of Massachusetts, Amherst. He began his career as a research associate with the Department of Microbiology at the University of Alabama, Birmingham, and took his first faculty position as an Assistant Professor of Microbiology and Immunology at the University of Tennessee Health Science Center in Memphis, TN. Starting in 1986 Jon became an Associate Professor of Molecular Genetics and Microbiology at the University of Massachusetts Chan Medical School in Worcester, where he studied the bacterium that causes bubonic plague. In semi-retirement, Jon began working for the start-up 3X Genetics, where he was helping develop diagnostic tools for Myotonic Dystrophy.
Jon loved the outdoors and wild places. He spent a good portion of his youth exploring the woods around his home and later many trips hiking and backpacking throughout New England, particularly in the White Mountains. An avid traveler, he also enjoyed exploring natural places during many trips to Arizona, and other places around the US and abroad. He loved canoeing local rivers and did several long canoe trips through the Canadian wilderness with his wife. He enjoyed spending time at the family off-grid camp in Maine, as well as annual stays at AMC’s Cold River Camp in Chatham NH. Jon was also an avid bird watcher. He shared this passion with his wife, Cheryl, whom he met at a bird banding facility in Ashby, MA.
Jon had an adventurous spirit with his eyes to the sky. In his younger years he enjoyed skydiving and hang gliding. Throughout his life he flew many small air craft, and most recently was an active member of the Greater Boston Soaring Club. A highlight of his life was getting to fly the Collings Foundation’s WWII-era P-51 Mustang.
Jon could fix just about anything and had an electronics lab at home as well as a woodworking and metal working shop in his basement. He was creative and an inventor, with several patents in his name. He had a Ham radio operators license, was an avid golfer, chess player, a lifelong learner, voracious reader, and deep thinker. In the family he was famous for his bad dad jokes (known colloquially as ‘Goguen jokes’) and silly poetry.
A Celebration of Life will be held on Saturday, August 13, 2022 at 11:00 AM at the Unitarian Universalist Church of Worcester, 90 Holden Street, Worcester, MA. A light lunch will follow the celebration. There are no calling hours. In lieu of flowers, donations in Jon’s memory may be made to Science Seminar at Wachusett Regional High School or online to the Worcester Animal Rescue League (WARL). To donate to Science Seminar checks must be made payable to WRSD with Science Seminar in the memo line. Checks can be collected at Jon’s Celebration of Life or mailed directly to his wife (Once collected, checks will be delivered in person to Science Seminar). Jon was an active member of Science Seminar for many years and enjoyed inspiring and training the next generation of scientists like himself. Jon was also a lover of cats and enjoyed helping his wife foster kittens for adoption through WARL.
Nordgren Memorial Chapel 300 Lincoln St. Worcester is honored to assist the family with arrangements. To leave an online condolence message, please visit Nordgrenmemorialchapel.com.
Posted online on July 30, 2022
Published in Worcester Telegram & Gazette
Unitarian Universalist Church of Worcester 90 Holden St. Worcester
August 13, 2022 did 11:00 a.m.