Site News John Dorgan Memorial Thread


Site Founder
John Francis Dorgan, husband of Helen Dorgan, passed away at the age of 74 on Sunday, May 13th, 2012 at the Veterans’ Hospital. He was born in Dorchester, MA on March 5th, 1938, son of the late John and Delima Dorgan. He graduated from Cathedral high school in Boston, MA. He then went on to join the United States Air Force and served for 22 years. He was a lifetime member of the VFW. For the last twenty years he has been restoring antique lights, sirens and beacons for customers worldwide. He is survived by his beloved wife of 56 years, Helen Dorgan. He is also survived by his sister, Alma O’Rourke; and his five children, Helyn, Mary-Ellen (Bill), John (Lisa), Jim, and Joe (Pat). His seven grandchildren, Rusty, Katie, Becky, Jessica, Maegan, Candace, and Hannah, as well as his twelve great grandchildren and many nieces and nephews, also survive him. Services will be held on Saturday, May 19th at 2pm at East Lawn Mortuary on 5801 East Grant Road. Any donations can be made to the American Lung Association at 2819 East Broadway Boulevard, Tucson, AZ, 85716.

John was a figure of this site from the beginning and his quality restorations set the standard for for this industry. When John passed a piece of this community also died.

Please use this thread to post memories, pictures and other content related to John Dorgan and his legacy of high quality light and siren restorations. Pictures of his work and stories about his time in the industry and on the board are welcome.

Beacons Sold
Sirens Sold
John's Collection
John's Archive


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Premium Member
Platinum Donor
I had the pleasure of “meeting“ John “Sirenman” Dorgan in the mid 90s when we still lived in Richmond, VA. I purchased a FS 174 with a red glass dome (identical to the one I used as a volunteer firefighter in KY, which started my collection. We had just moved into a neighborhood in Western Henrico Co. and the previous owners did not participate In Halloween. So I set the 174 in my garage window and connected it to a battery…the new owners were open for business!

Fast forward about 10 years and my collection was growing...and we moved to Oklahoma to my wife’s family farm. I came across a Federal 78 siren (dual tone with a PropelloRay) that was on the 1950 tanker truck of my first VFD. It needed a lot of tlc so I called John and he got started on it. It was returned to me in better than new condition. (When he shipped it back, he shipped the PropelloRay separately to avoid shipping damage.)

In our conversation, I reminded him of my first purchase and that got into the 174s. The county PD in Louisville used 174s with blue glass domes. That led us down a rabbit hole about Honolulu’s special 174s…the 174H. That was his holy grail. RIP John. You are still sorely missed.
EB4E5CDD-0D2E-471E-BAF5-0DE5E40DCF9D.jpeg With the “beacon” that was on the tanker…donated by KY State Police.
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