Joseph A. Dugan, my Dad, died last week. He was a great man and I am lucky to be his son. For over 30 years he taught mostly elementary school kids, about a thousand students in all. Here's what one of his students had to say about him.
I am so sorry for your loss- Mr. Dugan spoke often of his children and family back when I had him as my 6th-grade teacher at the Hosmer School in Watertown in 1979-1980.
Mr. Dugan was a wonderful teacher, a fine gentleman and a great source of belief and encouragement to the students in his room. Looking back on 13 years of public school in Watertown, 4 years of college, three years of law school and two years of graduate school, Mr. Dugan was the best teacher I ever had. His impact has held throughout the course of all those years since, and I am grateful to have had the good luck to have landed in his class that year- a break I consider one of the luckier ones of my life.
I have heard how teachers can open minds, hearts and spirits- I need look no further than Mr. Dugan for clear and certain confirmation.
May God Bless Mr. Dugan and may he rest in peace.
My sincere condolences to you all.
Rachel Kaprielian (Hosmer School , class of 1980)
Feb 19, 2009
When I was growing up, we always pronounced our last name with the accent on the last syllable, "du-GAN". Apparently the rest of the world, including the folks over in Ireland, pronounce it "DOOG-in". It's a mystery, but we think my Dad's folks may have changed the pronounciation back in the 1800s when they immigrated from Ireland because of the discrimination against the Irish. I guess "du -GAN" sounds more French than Irish.
It didn't happen often, but sometimes I met people in places far removed from Massachusetts who then asked me if my Dad was a teacher, just because of the way I pronounced "Dugan". They were students or parents of students of my dad, and they invariably had kind words and maybe a funny story.
I called him Pops. Pops did alot of talking to his students in the course of his lessons, but he was a quiet man. Alot of the lessons we learned at home were from what he did, not what he said, like taking the extra job at the grocery store to put food on the table, or building the addition on the back of the house so my invalid grandmother, his mother-in-law, could come live with us.
Pops served as a Staff Sergeant in the U.S. Air Force during the Korean War.He didn't talk much about it, but he was in charge of setting up radio communication stations. He was a lifetime member of the National Education Association and served as a public school teacher and administrator in Weymouth, Hingham, and Watertown.
Nobody knew Robert's Rules Of Order better than Pops. While working as a teacher in Weymouth, Pops represented teachers in negotiating the first-ever union contract for town educators.He was an elected public official, serving as a Weymouth Town Meeting Member; member of the Weymouth Democratic Town Committee; and a member of the Weymouth School Committee for 2 terms, including several years as Chairman. He handed out the diplomas at my high school graduation!
The plastic looking sack of bones in the casket wasn't my dad, that was just the vehicle. Pops didn't die. The body he inhabited died, and we buried it in The National Cemetery in Bourne. And if I see you no more in this world, Pops, I'll meet you in the next one, and don't be late!