John S. Mogabgab ’68

John S. Mogabgab ’68 died August 8, 2014, in Nashville, Tenn., the day of his 33rd anniversary. He was born on December 24, 1946, in New York City, and was valedictorian of his class at New Canaan (Conn.) High School. President of Alpha Delta Phi fraternity and a dean’s list student, he graduated cum laude from Bowdoin. He won the Eaton Leith French Prize in his junior year, and was awarded a Rockefeller Brothers Theological Fellowship as a senior. He went on to earn a Master of Divinity at Union Seminary in 1972, and then an M.A. in 1974, a Master of Philosophy in 1975 and a doctorate in 1978, all from Yale University. At Yale, he became a teaching and research assistant of renown priest, Henri Nouwen, forging a relationship that lasted a lifetime. He led spiritual retreats for the Episcopal Diocese of Connecticut, and in 1982 was recruited to serve in an advisory group from which emerged the Academy for Spiritual Formation. The Academy remains a distinctive program of The Upper Room, an ecumenical ministry of the General Board of Discipleship of the United Methodist Church. He designed the curriculum for the Academy’s original two-year model and became its Theologian in Residence. In 1985, he became the founding editor of Weavings: A Journal of the Christian Spiritual Life, which he shepherded for the next 25 years. Later in life, he served as an editor at Upper Room Books. When Nouwen died in 1996, he took a position on the Henri Nouwen Society board, and formed partnerships between the Society and St. Mary’s Retreat Center in Sewanee, Tenn., and The Upper Room. He is survived by his wife of 33 years, Marjorie J. Thompson, and sister Mary.

2 Comments John S. Mogabgab ’68

  1. Bradley Delaney

    I am proud to say that I was John’s roommate for a year while he was a student at Union and I was at Columbia. John was one of the kindest and gentlest men I have ever known. I still remember his stories of venturing into sections of the Bronx where not even police or firemen would venture and where public utilities were no longer provided, in order to give some spiritual hope to the people who were squatting there. John Mogabgab will rest in peace.

  2. Alma Richmond MD

    I met John after he graduated from Union Theological Seminary when he was in New Canaan after he returned from a year in Cyprus. He was so dignified, brilliant and genuine that I cannot ever forget him.
    He was intense in academic pursuits and never seemed to stop learning and sharing his pursuit of knowledge as well as understanding.

    When I saw he died, I was heartbroken that the world lost John. And that his presence was gone even as his spirit and teaching lived on in his work. So many benefited from his existence and surely grieve his loss.


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