Roger Kojan obituary


My buddy Roger Kojan, who has died of pancreatic most cancers aged 75, was an financial growth officer with Wakefield council, in West Yorkshire, and an advocate for social change and sustainability within the office and the broader neighborhood.

He preferred to be sensible, serving to to arrange a claimants’ union or working within the creche at a feminist occasion. Various concepts additionally knowledgeable his private life, which included stints of communal residing throughout his pupil years.

Roger was born in Chelmsford, Essex, the place his dad and mom had met through the second world struggle. His father, John, an electronics graduate from Cleveland, Ohio, had arrived within the UK as a GI on a troopship and was swiftly recruited by Marconi to work on the event of radar. His mom was Betty Kinmonth, a Dubliner, who labored as a landgirl earlier than marrying John.

After boarding at Ratcliffe school, Leicester, which Roger stated impressed his sense of riot, he had a false begin learning French at Durham. Then he gained a sociology diploma at Leeds College in 1978.

A relationship with Annette Stansfield, a public sector researcher, for 12 years produced two sons, Ross and Tom, and prompted Roger to grow to be an energetic member of the native Woodcraft People. From the Nineties he was in a long-term relationship with Janis Goodman, an artist.

Aside from a post-university yr spent in Greece, throughout which he and Annette taught in Athens, Roger lived in Leeds for the remainder of his life. He labored for a commerce union useful resource centre within the metropolis till it misplaced funding in 1987; from then till retirement he labored for Wakefield council, devising methods for extra sustainable employment within the former coalfields.

Roger was one in every of life’s volunteers, glad to tackle unglamorous roles, whether or not that be placing up posters for political campaigns, becoming a member of his allotment’s work group or stewarding the native farmers’ market. A socialiser in addition to a socialist, his urge for food for tradition and counterculture, each excessive and low, meant he may take pleasure in a punk gig as a lot as a classical live performance.

His pleasure in studying, mixed with a aptitude for pedantry, made him a formidable Scrabble participant. He additionally squeezed in a part-time diploma in trendy Greek, loved a crossword and was a Guardian and Observer subscriber till the top.

Roger as soon as stated that he had left the Worldwide Socialists within the early 70s when he felt they had been shedding their sense of humour. That was one thing he by no means misplaced. Regardless of spending far too a lot of his last 18 months in hospital, with stoic affability he continued to share a joke and smile with employees and guests alike.

Janis and his kids survive him, as do his brother, Mike, and sister, Melissa.


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