Obituary: John Bogardus, Jr.

Sept. 15, 1927 – June 28, 2020

John Bogardus, Jr.

John (Jack) A. Bogardus Jr., age 92, a longtime Greenwich resident, passed away from complications of Alzheimer’s in Scottsdale, AZ on June 28. He was born in New York City to John Arthur and Elinor Strong Bogardus and spent his childhood in Scarsdale, NY. Following his graduation from Pomfret School in 1945, Jack enlisted in the Navy during which time he met a figure skater performing with “Ice Capades,” Mary Lela Wood. It was ‘love at first sight’. He married Lela in Tulsa, OK on June 9, 1950 just days before his graduation from Princeton University.

Jack and Lela moved to NYC where Jack joined Alexander & Alexander Services, a multinational insurance brokerage. Jack’s early business career was interrupted by a 2-year return stint to the Navy, serving aboard the cruiser, USS Roanoke. Following his Navy service, Jack and Lela moved to Halsey Drive in Old Greenwich, later moving to Riverside, Glenville and West Lyon Farm, in Greenwich. After retirement, Jack and Lela built a second home at Desert Mountain, in Scottsdale, AZ.
Jack’s entire business career was spent with Alexander & Alexander where he rose to President, CEO and Chairman. Including his time served as a Director of the company (1963-1995) Jack’s tenure at A&A spanned 45 years. Active throughout his career, Jack served as a Director of the Insurance Brokers Association of New York and a Director and Chairman of the governing committee of the National Association of Insurance Brokers. He was also a member of the US Chamber of Commerce Insurance Committee, and a Board member of the American Institute for Chartered Property, Casualty Underwriters and of the Insurance Institute of America.

After his retirement, Jack relied upon his decades of business experience to co-author Spreading the Risks, a seminal book detailing how the insurance industry evolved through disasters and economic transformations into the twenty-first century.

Jack traveled the world on business and pleasure visiting all 7 continents. He was a devoted golfer and a former member of The Stanwich Club, The Apawamis Club, and Pine Valley Golf Club. His passion for golf drew him to the Sonoran Desert of Arizona where he became a resident and member of Desert Mountain.

Always finding time for community activities throughout his life, Jack was a past President of the Old Greenwich, Riverside Community Center (OGRCC), served as a Trustee of Greenwich Library and was a philanthropist and patron of the arts, including the Greenwich Arts Council.

Jack is survived by his wife of 70 years, Lela, their four children: John, Stephen, James and Janet, and a sister, Francis ‘Bunny’ A. Lang. Jack and Lela particularly relished their visits with their 7 grandchildren and 2 great-grandchildren.

Jack will be remembered for his honesty, integrity, generosity and good humor. He enriched the lives of his family and friends and lived what he himself would surely describe as, ‘a wonderful life’.

Because of COVID-19, there are no memorial events currently planned. Please consider a donation to Alzheimer’s Research Foundation ( or your favorite charity.

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