James Dugan

Jul 4, 1929 - Dec 12, 2021

Visitation

Wednesday, Dec. 15, 2021 03:00 PM - 08:00 PM

Vander Plaat Funeral Home

257 Godwin Ave, Wyckoff

View in Google Maps

Add to My Calendar 12/15/2021 03:00 pm 12/15/2021 08:00 pm America/New_York James Dugan - Visitation

James Dugan, a former State Senator, State Chairman of the New Jersey Democratic Party, and a political legend in the history of politics in New Jersey and Nationally died Sunday, December 12, 2021, after a long illness.

Jim was a political icon who brought innovation to his role in the state and as a Marine. The motto of the Marines is Semper Fidelis: Always Faithful, to the Corps, to fellow ...

257 Godwin Ave, Wyckoff

Service

Thursday, Dec. 16, 2021 10:00 AM

Church of the Presentation

271 W. Saddle River Road, Upper Saddle River

View in Google Maps

Add to My Calendar 12/16/2021 10:00 am 12/16/2021 America/New_York James Dugan - Service

James Dugan, a former State Senator, State Chairman of the New Jersey Democratic Party, and a political legend in the history of politics in New Jersey and Nationally died Sunday, December 12, 2021, after a long illness.

Jim was a political icon who brought innovation to his role in the state and as a Marine. The motto of the Marines is Semper Fidelis: Always Faithful, to the Corps, to fellow ...

271 W. Saddle River Road, Upper Saddle River

James Dugan, a former State Senator, State Chairman of the New Jersey Democratic Party, and a political legend in the history of politics in New Jersey and Nationally died Sunday, December 12, 2021, after a long illness.

Jim was a political icon who brought innovation to his role in the state and as a Marine. The motto of the Marines is Semper Fidelis: Always Faithful, to the Corps, to fellow Marines, to Country, to God and to family. Jim epitomized that motto in his life and work. When his country needed him, he joined the Corps and fought in the hills of Korea. As a rifle platoon leader, he led his Marines in tough fights displaying indomitable spirit and inspiring bravery. He led from the front and was ultimately wounded in action and later awarded a purple heart after earning the rank of Captain. Years later he continued to lead from the front, spearheading a memorial monument in Quantico for Marines that they had lost in Korea. 

After his military service he continued to serve his community in the Legislature where he carved out an admirable record of achievements. His many accomplishments are now legend in the political history of New Jersey. 

During his tenure he sponsored and guided into law many significant pieces of legislation. Those were the renaissance years for New Jersey with legislation establishing the New Jersey Sports Authority and Exhibition Meadowlands Complex, The Casino Control Act, and the preservation of the Pinelands among them.

As a legislator Jim spoke out against the death penalty and worked for years to create a district for Newark that would assure minority representation. He was quoted as saying “There are a million black people that live in this state and many of them live in or around Newark and unless we do something now the chances of seeing a black elected to Congress in the next generation are not good at all (1974).”

Jim’s vision continued to shape New Jersey after his career in politics. As a developer Jim’s vision helped build Jersey City and Hudson County as we know it now. Legislation and foresight brought the vision and use of over 300 acres into place and brought major developers Mel Simon and Sam Lefrak to Jersey City.

Wherever he was his heart was always in Bayonne. At the end of his life, he spoke often of going home. Many thought it meant something different but to him it meant 51st Street in Bayonne, NJ where he grew up. He leaves Bayonne now with another legacy a development that will transform a corner of what was his home.

He and his family have resided in Saddle River, NJ for 40 years. He is survived by his wife Ruth, six children and their spouses and children, Eric and Catherine Dugan and son Jacob, Trisha Dugan and Michael Polk and children Anthony, Lauren, Jessica Laino, and Brian, Andy, Kendall and Lindsey Polk, Amanda Dugan and Jack Hanlon, James Dugan and Jessica Cohen and Sadie, Charlotte and Olivia Dugan, Katie Dugan and Judd Payne and Elle and Sloane Payne and Kristen Walsh. He will be missed by his three surviving sisters Marie Fletcher, Patricia Noon and Isabelle Murray and his many nieces and nephews. All were beneficiaries of an example of how to live a life worth living and making a difference in the world you leave behind.

The Dugan Family will be having visitation on Wednesday December 15, 2021, from 3:00pm to 8:00pm at Vander Plaat Funeral Home, www.vpfh.com, 257 Godwin Avenue Wyckoff, NJ 07481. A Funeral Mass with be held on Thursday December 16, 2021, at 10:00am at the Church of the Presentation, 271 W. Saddle River Road, Upper Saddle River.

 

In lieu of flowers, please make a donation in Jim’s memory to the Scholarship Fund for Inner City Children, 171 Clifton Ave. Newark, NJ 07104 www.sficnj.org or St. Peter’s Prep, 144 Grand Street, Jersey City, NJ 07302 https://spprep.org/

TAP Into Another Town's News: