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Rick Parker Photo

John Coughran was born in El Paso, TX in 1931. His house must have been close to the Railroad tracks because I remember him saying he always knew when the freight trains were coming through because the whole house would vibrate from the 2-10-2’s and 4-10-2’s rumbling by.
  During the Korean War John joined the Navy and became a Fire Control Specialist on board a ship that shot 3-inch and 5-inch rockets in salvos to support troop landings.
 

After his time in the service he returned to El Paso and obtained a degree in Electrical Engineering from the University of Texas at El Paso.
  He got a job at Cape Canaveral and was there for 10 years working on Mars probes and other projects and met several of the Astronauts but never worked on the Apollo project. He then came to California and worked at TRW, Grumman, and finally Xerox for a short time before retiring.     
 

John at the Wednesday Night Boiling Water

I met John in 1997 in Sacramento and we quickly developed a close friendship. We had a standing Wednesday Water Boiling meet which lasted for all these years and continues to this day with Sonny Wizelman, Rick Parker, Greg Dahlem, John Berry, and John Polen. John taught me all about the Black Art of coal firing and so much more. I know he taught many of you the joys of coal firing and gave seminars at both Diamondhead and Sacramento. John was a genuinely nice person who will be missed.