Saturday, June 18, 2005

Bert C. Dugan

Bert C. "Dixie" Dugan

My recent lack of posting is due to the death of a great man. Bert C. Dugan, my “Dad”, passed away on Thursday June 16, 2005 at 10 P.M. Michigan time.

A re-con pilot, A&P expert mechanic, and instructor during WW II, Korea, and Viet-Nam and holding many awards for his service during a long distinguishing career in the U.S.A.F., Bert C. “Dixie” Dugan was a man who loved America, freedom and justice. Attaining such a high rank as a NCO his next step was to become an officer, but he declined the offer.

Always one to be ready with a story or a joke the most important thing he could give was his advice. This advice helped shape my goals in life. He has always been the road sign guiding me to my destination. His advice will always echo in my head and continue to guide my path … especially when I make wrong turns, as I am apt to still do often.

Howard J. Thompson is my biological “Dad”, and Bert C. Dugan was his best friend. I knew him my whole life as an Uncle. He often joined the family on vacations being asked to please join us. He was that close to the family. He became my 2nd “Dad”; he was as a “Father”. I know my 2 Dads are together in heaven right now. I know my ‘biological’ Dad was the first to meet him. I know his first words were “Thank You!”

When Howard died in 1979 Bert lost his best friend, a man he loved like a brother. He tried to come “home” to Michigan for the funeral, but an airline strike prevented it. He was there in spirit and called often to check on us and give support and strength to the family he considered his own.

A love story is revealed. A book I have intended to write for years needs to be started. My mother, Barbara A. Dugan, has had 2 extraordinary marriages. My Dad (Howard) and her enjoyed a wonderful 32 plus year marriage having 5 children, including me.

At the time of Howard’s death Bert had never been married and over the next 2 years the reason was revealed. During the 2 years following my Dads death Bert was a great comfort to my mom. Remember, he shared sorrow and pain over the loss of Howard. He understood mom’s hurt and could comfort her when needed. He would call to check on us, and always there to answer the phone if mom needed to talk. He enjoyed many visits back home to Michigan, or when we visited Texas.

It seems in life that over time wounds heal, and they heal quicker with love. During one of the talks with mom, Bert revealed the reason he had never married. Years prior Howard had introduced him to the woman he would fall in love with. He never found a woman like that, and the one he did was taken. It was Howard’s wife, my mom. Being a man of great honor, however, he buried those feelings deep inside and loved her like family.

On February 7, 1981 Bert and Barbara were married in Wichita Falls, Texas. They had grown close and the feeling from years prior had resurfaced. He loved my mom dearly, and wanted to be there for her everyday. He wanted to be her support, confidant, strength, provider, and friend. Everything he had always been already and more. They enjoyed over 24 years together in yet another wonderful marriage for my mom. A man who never had children made up for lost time immediately. 5 children, their spouses (and fiancé’), 13 grandchildren, and 6 great grandchildren … and he loved them all dearly.

Bert became my Dad, and let it be known my Father also. Once again with honor, he never tried to take Howards place as my Dad, but looked out for me and cared as if I was his own. I was his best friends son, and he wanted the best for me. He wanted me to be a success, be honorable; he wanted me to be a real man. Everything my Dad wanted for me, my new Dad also wanted for me. I became his son.

He was my Dad and Father. He advised, counseled, guided, and yes; got angry when I needed that stern voice to lead me off the wrong way I had headed, but he did it with love. I know this to be true, and I am thankful I had the chance to tell him these things in life.

I have but one regret. I was not able to become the success he knew, (and still knows), I can become before his passing. He will not be here to witness me standing on my own 2 feet proudly. He will not be here to witness the results of all his work. It will happen, this I vow. I will become what he believed I could be. He may not be here to witness this, but I know one thing to be true. My 2 Dads will see this happen and enjoy the results of their combined work together. Maybe that’s how it was meant to be, maybe that’s how it should be.

I love you Dad,

Jonathan P. Thompson (Dugan)

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