Monagan, John S. 1911–2005

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Monagan, John S. 1911–2005

(John Stephen Monagan)

OBITUARY NOTICE—See index for CA sketch: Born December 23, 1911, in Waterbury, CT; died of heart disease, October 23, 2005, in Washington, DC. Politician, lawyer, and author. Monagan was a former Democratic U.S. Congressman for the state of Connecticut. A bright student who excelled at swimming in high school, he attended Dartmouth College, where he edited the school's humor magazine and graduated in 1933. He then earned his law degree from Harvard University in 1937. Joining his uncle's law practice in Waterbury, he worked there for two years and became interested in politics. An operation to treat colon cancer in 1941 made him ineligible for military service during the war. Instead, he pursued politics as a finance commissioner for his home town and served as Waterbury's mayor from 1942 to 1948. He then returned to private practice for about a decade before running for the U.S. House of Representatives. He won the election and served as a congressman from 1959 until 1973. During this time, Monagan played several important roles. As chair of the House Government Operations subcommittee, for example, he helped expose problems at the Federal Housing Administration concerning the Housing Renewal program; his fluency in several languages also made him a natural candidate for the Committee on Foreign Affairs, and he worked on political and trade relations with countries in Europe and South America. Losing a bid for reelection in 1972, Monagan returned to law, joining Whitman & Ransom in New York City as a senior resident partner until retiring in 1980. Afterward, he kept busy by serving as president of the U.S. Association of Former Members of Congress, lecturing, contributing articles to publications such as the New York Times, and publishing the biographies Horace, Priest of the Poor (1985) and The Grand Panjandrum: Mellow Years of Justice Holmes (1988). Named to the Waterbury, Connecticut, Hall of Fame in 1997, Monagan's last book was the autobiography Pleasant Institution: Key—C Major (2001).



Monagan, John S., Pleasant Institution: Key—C Major, University Press of America (Lanham, MD), 2001.


Los Angeles Times, October 26, 2005, p. B11.

Washington Post, October 25, 2005, p. B6.