Joel Craig Grogan
Joel Craig Grogan
  • November 11, 1945 - December 16, 2016
  • Staunton, Virginia

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Joel Craig Grogan, 71, of Staunton passed away Friday, December 16, 2016 at his home surrounded by his wife and children. Due to the rare nature of his autoimmune lung disease and its rapid progression, his end stage was mercifully brief, but unexpected.

Born October 13, 1945 in Abingdon, Virginia, one of five children, he was the son of the late Harold Lewis and Helen (Moore) Grogan. From his birth, he was known by one and all as Jody.

Following graduation from Staunton's Robert E. Lee High School, Jody attended the University of Virginia, graduated from Campbell College with an English degree and began his teaching career in Atlanta, Georgia in 1969. Jody raised his family and pursued his career in education in both Georgia and Virginia. He joined the cooperative that published The Great Speckled Bird, Atlanta's long-running underground newspaper. Jody and his wife Linda, both inveterate educators, led highly acclaimed workshops on the art of parenting. For over 20 years he taught English and Debate at a number of public schools in both Georgia and Virginia. In addition to his years of dedicated teaching, he held leadership and staff positions in the Atlanta Federation of Teachers, the Virginia Education Association, and the Organization of DeKalb Educators. He finished his career as a highly regarded lobbyist at the Georgia State Capitol for the Georgia Education Association, the state affiliate of the National Education Association. He was a stalwart supporter of the principles of union solidarity and dignity in the workplace. As a trained mediator, Jody's special skills were a great asset in counseling individuals, successfully settling grievances, and crafting resolutions to policy debates.

Following his retirement and return to Staunton in 2007, Jody's passion for public education led to his election and dedicated service as a board member for the Staunton City Schools since 2011. His active interest in history, politics, and public policy also led him to work as a docent interpreter at the Woodrow Wilson Presidential Library and Museum for the past several years. Jody was a member of the National Education Association of Retired Teachers and the Staunton Democratic Committee. Political to his core, Jody's most recent activities included supporting the Democratic ticket in November, and working with 1VA2021, an effort to curb political gerrymandering in the Commonwealth. He shared the concerns of many about the new administration and the potential setbacks to public education and other vitally important investments in our nation's future.

Jody and his family first joined the Unitarian Universalist Congregation of Atlanta in 1984, where he worked in youth programs. He became an active member of the Unitarian Universalist Fellowship, Waynesboro, serving in many roles, singing in the choir, and highly involved with the Social Action Committee.
Jody's wide network of friends included the special lifelong bonds he held with his band of high school brothers, including the Belugas and their annual New Year's immersion in the icy waters of the Middle River.

Always fully engaged with family, church, and community, Jody enjoyed politics, theater, film, reading, singing, and live music, as well as special time with his wife, his children and grandchildren, and his four siblings. Thanksgiving family reunions on the Outer Banks have been a cherished Grogan tradition for decades and Jody enjoyed his last gathering with dozens of family members in November. He will be forever remembered as a loving husband, father, grandfather and brother.

Survivors include his high school sweetheart and loving wife of 48 years, Linda (Parrott) Grogan; two children, Jason Grogan of Atlanta, GA and Lia (Grogan) Craft and husband, Robert of Waynesboro; grandchildren, Cameron Grogan, Blake Grogan, Kieran Grogan, Lily Hines and Jackson Hines; siblings, Hal Grogan and wife, Crawford of Falls Church, VA, the Hon. Nan Grogan Orrock of Atlanta, GA, Molly Waldrop and husband, Rev. Russ Waldrop of Waynesboro, and Dan Grogan and wife, Barbara of Charlottesville; as well as a number of nieces, nephews and friends.

A memorial service will be held at 11:00 am on Thursday, Dec. 22 at the Unitarian Universalist Fellowship, 565 Pine Avenue, Waynesboro, Virginia, with the Rev. Paul Oakley officiating. The family will receive friends following the service at the church.

In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be made in Jody's memory to the Augusta Health Foundation, c/o Hospice of the Shenandoah, P.O. Box 1000, Fishersville, VA 22939 or the Unitarian Universalist Fellowship, 565 Pine Ave., Waynesboro, VA 22980.

Relatives and friends may share condolences and memories with the family online by visiting