Thursday, June 25, 2015

Hans Vogel

Reagan and Vogel, pals
     Earlier today, the SOCCCD community received an email from the district noting the passing and singing the praises of the district’s first board president, Hans Vogel (1922-2015):
     Dr. Hans W. Vogel, President of our first Board of Trustees, recently passed away at the age of 93.
     It was Valentine’s Day in 1967 that residents approved the formation of Saddleback Junior College District, dubbing it the “Sweetheart of Orange County.” In July 1968 the board hosted then-Governor Ronald Reagan for a high-profile dedication of Saddleback Junior College. Dr. Vogel would ultimately serve as Board President four times in his eight-year tenure….
     Over the years, in an attempt to understand our benighted district, I've written about Vogel often. It's pretty clear that Vogel—a war hero, successful volleyball coach, contractor, lawyer, and right-wing paranoid—was a very interesting man and someone perhaps best viewed, as they say, as a man of his time. He sure was!
     Not long ago, I was surprised to learn that Vogel had a significant role in the political career of Ronald Reagan. (Some will be impressed; others will be horrified.) Two years ago, I encountered this description of Vogel in a book by Tom Rogers, chairman of the OC GOP from 1969 until 1972:
     Hans Vogel was one of the first county residents to become involved in conservative politics. As a local businessman and bookstore owner, Hans was able to gather a circle of friends and associates to informal discussion concerning many issues. He was an early supporter of [John Bircher] John Schmitz, but his most impressive accomplishments was to sponsor a book-signing event at his Tustin bookstore, featuring a rising star in GOP politics, Ronald Reagan who had written a book Where’s the Rest of Me? [1965] The event was a success by all standards, and really introduced the future governor to local conservatives who came away with a signed book and a determination to support Ronald Reagan in his political career.
     Hans was also active in the County Republican Central Committee as publisher and editor of the Observer. [Elsewhere, Rogers explains that Vogel did an excellent job in that role. The Observer faded from the scene many years ago.]
DtB posts mentioning Hans Vogel:
"Utt" Library, September 1972

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