Bill Coggin PDF Print E-mail
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Tuesday, 11 February 2014 11:10
Coggin-Bill-obitBill Coggin died on February 9, 2014, at his home in Bowling Green.
He was born on December 3, 1948 in Malvern, Arkansas, to Bertha (Davis) and William Coggin.
He is survived by his wife, Betty.
He is also survived by their two sons, Robert and Martin; daughter-in-law, Hadley; four beloved grandchildren, Grace, Maggie, Emmett and Colleen; and brother, Charles.
Bill grew up in Plain Dealing, in rural north Louisiana, an area then-dominated by lumbering and paper mills. The family's meals came from what they could grow and what Bill's stepfather could provide by hunting and fishing. His stepfather also raised hunting dogs, and some of Bill's earliest and fondest memories are of riding the largest dogs and later his own horse.
Bill was the first in his family to graduate from high school. After graduation, he enrolled in college, financing his education through work as a rough-neck in the North Louisiana oil fields.
He was drafted into the U.S. Army in 1970 and trained as a Vietnamese interrogator and interpreter. This experience sparked an enduring interest in other languages and cultures, even though he was fortunate enough to qualify for one of "Nixon's early-outs" and his orders for deployment to Viet Nam were rescinded as he waited for the plane to take him overseas.
After his discharge from the Army, Bill returned to Louisiana Tech University, where he earned both bachelor's and master's degrees. During this time at Tech, Bill met and married Betty. He also learned that he enjoyed the academic environment and wanted to continue his education, with the goal of teaching in a university. Bill then enrolled at Oklahoma State University, where he earned a dual Ph.D. in Anglo Saxon literature and history. A professor at OSU, however, convinced him that a then-new field - "technical writing" - offered greater chances for employment, and Bill included both class work and teaching in that area. When he completed his course work, Bill had already published in both literature and technical communication journals.
Upon finishing his course work, Bill taught Technical Communication at Miami University for a year before being "lured away" by BGSU, which needed a young, energetic person to expand its new technical writing program in the English Department. Bill completed his dissertation while teaching and developing new courses at BGSU.
Bill taught at BGSU throughout the remainder of his career and completed development of the English Department's Technical and Scientific Communication program, which offered both Bachelor's and Master's degrees. Bill was particularly proud that program graduates have been well-respected nationally and in demand, both in business and education. To help his students with their job searches, he established a fund to help students attend and present papers at conferences, as well as with other expenses of their educations.
Bill also was very active in the national Society for Technical Communication, serving as an officer in that organization for a number of years. He was active, as well, in other technical and business communication organizations. He helped his students establish the student STC chapter at BGSU, and served as its advisor and as editor of the national students' STC journal for many years.
Bill authored or co-authored several books and many journal articles, and regularly conducted workshops and gave presentations at academic and industry conferences on technical communication. One of his greatest joys, however, was in returning to his "roots" and teaching at least one course each year in early English literature.
Beginning in the late 1990s, Bill made a number of visits to China to teach in BGSU's faculty exchange program at Xi'an Foreign Languages University, combining teaching with the opportunity to learn as much Mandarin as possible and research into Chinese education and culture. At BGSU, he greatly enjoyed being the faculty advisor for the Chinese Student Scholars Association and sharing in the organization's activities. He also enjoyed working with individual teachers and students who came to BGSU from Xi'an, as well as other universities around the world.
Bill had long looked forward to retirement, with plans to explore new cultures through more living and teaching abroad. His plans were changed by illness, however, and after his retirement last year, he and Betty had to limit their exploring to some of the areas and cultures in Ohio they had neglected during their forty years living in the state.
Although Bill had come a long way from his childhood environment, he never forgot. His favored local charities were the Wood County Humane Society and the Cherry Street Mission in Toledo. The family requests that those organizations be considered by anyone wishing to remember Bill. Those preferring to continue Bill's help to students, please consider the Coggin Scholarship, through the BGSU Development Foundation.
At Bill's request, there will be no services nor formal visitation.
Arrangements have been entrusted to DUNN FUNERAL HOME located in the Historical District of Bowling Green, Ohio.
Online condolences may be sent to the family by visiting

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Last Updated on Tuesday, 11 February 2014 11:13

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