David Cogdon

November 25, 1947October 6, 2018


We, the broken-hearted kids of David Cogdon, are sad to announce that the most important man in our lives left this earth on October 6th at the age of 70. Also feeling our pain is his loving wife and best friend, Jane Campana.

Born on November 25, 1947 in Toronto, Dad grew up in cities across Canada and in Tokyo with his Naval Officer Dad Noel (Nibs) Cogdon, Mom Marion and sisters Donella and Ann. Throughout his youth he enjoyed playing baseball and basketball, riding his motorcycle through the streets of Japan and cherished his summers at the family cottage in Muskoka.

Dad was a proud graduate of the Royal Military College (RMC) Class of ’70. His time at RMC was the beginning of an accomplished career in the Canadian Navy and also the start of many important lifelong friendships. Looking back, Dad would say being Commanding Officer of HMCS Cowichan, HMCS Athabaskan and the 5th Destroyer Squadron were his most memorable positions. In senior roles with the Department of National Defence, Dad served as the Director General of Information during the Oka Crisis and also as Director General of Military Plans and Operations during the Somalia operation. Dad’s final role before he retired as a Commodore was Chief of Staff of the Canadian Navy.

Following his military career, Dad spent five years as the Director General of Public Affairs for the Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency (ACOA) and then seven years as the Executive Director of the Aerospace and Defence Human Resources Partnership. He also volunteered for more than 25 years with the Nova Scotia International Tattoo, committed his time to the Last Post Fund and played music to raise money for the Nova Scotia Special Olympics.

We, his kids Deanna and Michael, did not know the strict military officer that we’ve heard stories about. The man we knew played the oldies as part of Frank’s All-Star Amateur Band on weekends. The man we knew loved biting ice cream off wooden spoons. The man we knew loved all things Star Wars with a particular fondness for Yoda. The man we knew was passionate about feng shui, Chinese and Western astrology and created astrological natal charts for each of his grandkids. The man we knew collected silver coins like a pirate. The man we knew discovered a love of emojis at 70. The man we knew asked us the same question and gave us the same answer almost every time we talked – “You know what guys?” “What Dad?” “I love you.”

We will be forever grateful for how Dad opened his arms and welcomed our spouses, Sheldon Miller and Alison Snow, to the family. Our children Sara, Addison, Myer, Sam, Louie and CeCe were so very lucky to have him as their cherished Gumpa. Dad found a special love when he met Jane five years ago. She made him a skater. He made her a skier. Together they traveled Ireland, biked France, did the Caldera hike in Santorini (Greek Islands) and visited Skellig Michael. They never walked anywhere without holding hands. Jane’s family Cheryl, Stu, Liz and Alexander meant a lot to Dad. Also special to Dad was his 99-year-old aunt Joan Cogdon and the friendship he shared with our Mom, Anne Cogdon.

All of this happened way too fast but we are incredibly thankful for our recent family trip to Japan and the time we had together over the last few months continuing to make special memories. You know what Dad? We love you.

Please join us for a stand-up reception to share stories and celebrate his life on Sunday, October 14 from 2:00-4:00pm at the Wardroom Ballroom at Stadacona (2648 Lorne Terrace – enter via Gottingen Street, photo ID required). In lieu of flowers please consider a donation to the Canadian Association for Disabled Skiing or the Last Post Fund.

“Observe don’t judge”


  • Celebration of Life Sunday, October 14, 2018

David Cogdon

have a memory or condolence to add?

Hugh McEwen

October 18, 2018

Please accept my belated but most sincere condolences on Dave’s passing. Our time at RMC overlapped but I did not serve with him until I was a member of his staff when he was D5. He was a truly good man and a thoroughly professional sailor who was dedicated to the Service and to our country. His sense of humour and his genuine interest in and care for the people with whom he served were but two of the sterling qualities that made him a very fine leader, among the best with whom I had the honour to sail.
Yours respectfully,

Hugh McEwen

Carl Demmons

October 15, 2018

To Deanna & Michael:
Sue & I attended the reception on Sunday, and although we saw and visited with a lot of friends, we truly felt we had visited with Dave before we had left..... the words you two, and the Navy speaker offered were well done, the pictures and artifacts very nicely selected, and the stories and recollections offered to us by other attendees, offering a deeper glance into the life of your father.
His friendships from all areas of his life were evident in the overflowing crowd- impressive in all ways! We feel honored to have been there. Our one regret is that we didn't have the opportunity to extend our greetings and sympathies to you in person, on behalf of our whole family.
I recall the many years Dave & I spent together "living the life" in Franks's Band, and the many neighbourhood connections, parties, and yearly rentals of the Sportsplex ice for Crichton Park Christmas Parties, compliments of the Cogdon Family!

In closing: Above all, Dave was an easy guy to know, and like!

Carl & Sue Demmons

John Langlais

October 15, 2018

Dave Cogdon, Luquillo beach, Puerto Rico. The Bohemian Dave. He was probably 26 years old.

John Langlais

October 14, 2018

Dave and I go back to sharing a cabin on HMCS Ottawa. As mid twenties Lieutenants you can believe we shared many adventures. Dave was a great guy and when we reconnected later in life, it was as if time stood still. With great friends you just pick up the conversation as if there was no time break at all. To the family, I offer my deepest condolences. I would like to add that I too shared the privilege of the real Dave. Some years after the Ottawa, Dave sent me some pictures. One is of him on Luquillo beach in Puerto Rico. I will try to figure out how to send it.

Colonel Luc Gaudet

October 11, 2018

I never had the honour and privilege to meet (or work with) Commodore (Retired) Cogdon. More importantly, I wish to recognize the stellar career of this superb military leader and thank him for his devoted and passionate service to the Crown and to our nation. It is in large part because of him and other great leaders like Commodore (Retired) Cogdon that the current generation of military public affairs and civilian communications practitioners have the opportunity to echo the actions of the men and women of the Canadian Armed Forces and enable the great and difficult work that they do, everyday to be conveyed to Canadians, other audiences and Allies. To the family and many friends of Commodore (Retired) Cogdon who miss him dearly, I offer my most sincere condolences and moral support. Know that the entire public affairs family within DND and the CAF is behind you. Commodore (Retired) Cogdon's legacy remains and his memory will live on in us forever.

Ralph Coleman

October 11, 2018

The entire military public affairs community, both serving and retired, mourns the loss of one of its past leaders. Commodore David Cogdon provided the Public Affairs Branch with inspiring leadership as Director General Information during the hectic and challenging period of the Oka Crisis and The Gulf War. These were profound events in their scope, complexity and impact and David led us successfully and triumphantly through them. Our heartfelt condolences go out to his family and friends over this loss that is felt by all.

Colonel (Retired) Ralph Coleman, OMM, CD.
Colonel Commandant
Canadian Armed Forces Public Affairs Branch.

Jay Janzen

October 11, 2018

On behalf the Canadian Armed Forces and the Military Public Affairs Branch, I salute Commodore David Cogdon's loyal and dedicated service to Canada. David served as Director-General Information during a particularly challenging time in our history, and continued to stay connected with the Public Affairs Branch following his retirement from the service. To David's family, thank you for your support and sacrifices during his many years of military service. My deepest condolences to you for the loss of a father, loyal Naval Officer, and friend.

Jay H. Janzen
Director-General Military Strategic Communications

Stephen McArthur

October 10, 2018

I will always remember David as one of my dear friends in Tokyo in the early 1960s, a tried and true SMOB (St. Mary's Old Boy). He was my favorite tennis partner, better than me, which always helped. When I first arrived at St. Mary's some other guys told me to call him by a not-so-acceptable name at the time for Canadians, telling me it was a compliment. Instead of whacking me upside the head, and with a knowing look on his face, he calmly sat me down and explained. And as total surprise, we were able to reconnect in the early 2000s when he came to my Vermont home for a reunion of six of us SMOBs. He has left us too young and the world is sadder with his passing.

Hans Hendel

October 10, 2018

Farewell my friend. Your good natured professionalism was an inspiration.

Ted Wallace

October 10, 2018

Beautiful words for a beautiful guy...