SALEM, N.H. — Crazy hats, worn T-shirts, a passion for adventure and a loud, hearty laugh — that was Shawn Hogan.
Approximately 200 people paid their last respects to the 28-year-old Army captain and Green Beret during a funeral service yesterday at Mary Queen of Peace Church.
There were probably more laughs and fond remembrances at the hourlong service than tears and mourning. After all, Hogan would have wanted it that way.
“Shawn never stopped — he always kept going, living life with no regrets,” college friend Nick Mazzenga said.
Hogan, stationed at Fort Campbell in Kentucky, was killed Oct. 17 when the all-terrain vehicle he was riding overturned during a training exercise. He was a 2002 graduate of Salem High School and valedictorian of his graduating class at Virginia Military Institute.
Hogan received military honors and about 50 of his comrades were in the audience, as was Gov. John Lynch.
Sixteen members of the Patriot Guard Riders stood outside the church, holding flags. Green Berets stood at the door as the crowd filed into the church, where Hogan’s flag-draped coffin sat up front.
The Rev. Thomas Frink opened the service. Hogan’s accomplishments and love for life were described by Master Sgt. Jonathan Ramer.
“Shawn was known for his passion for adventure, his humility and for spending his time laughing with friends,” Ramer said. “Through his contagious personality, never-ending smile and youthful joy for life, he could make anyone feel as though they were his best friend in only a matter of minutes.”
Mazzenga was one of four friends who paid tribute to Hogan, recalling his energy, intelligence and independent spirit. But they especially remembered his love for adventure, describing boyhood stunts and daring deeds as an adult.
He definitely made his presence known, whether it was his taste for wearing unusual hats and oversized sunglasses, or what his friends called his loud, goofy laugh and wacky sense of humor.