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Michael Hoogasian

Cranston, R.I.


Michael Hoogasian, 31, ran into Great White's lead singer, Jack Russell, at a tattoo parlor before last Thursday's show.

Hoogasian, a music lover, was a fan of the 1980s rock group, so the band leader gave him free tickets so that he could see the show at The Station with his wife, Sandy.

A day later, Hoogasian's neighbors in Cranston saw that the couple were on the list of those missing in the West Warwick club fire. Ash Avenue residents remembered the Hoogasians as helpful and social -- "the kind of people you'd want to live around," said James Hayes, a neighbor and friend.

Theodore Norberg, 82, who lives across the street, said Michael Hoogasian would take Norberg's wife, who was wheelchair-bound, on trips around the neighborhood.

"They were very generous people," he said.

Michael Hoogasian worked at the Coca-Cola Bottling Co. in Providence since 1994. Tommy Hunt, his sales manager, said he had wanted to recruit Hoogasian for a management position

, but "he was always having fun with what he was doing," Hunt said. "He was that kind of guy."

Hoogasian's job required him to visit supermarkets, working with grocery store managers and staff to stock stores with Coke products. Hunt visited the Stop & Shop in Cranston this week, where Hoogasian used to make deliveries. Those who knew him had already heard the news, he said.

"The girls at the register, they were crying," he said. "He touched a lot of people."

Hunt said Hoogasian was known for staying in impeccable shape. He was outgoing, Hunt said, adding that he "always greeted everyone with a handshake and a smile."

"He loved his wife, he loved his life," Hunt said. "We'll miss him."