Thomas “Tom” Allen Dugan, 91, of Farmington, passed away Wednesday, Nov. 8, 2017, at his home. He was born Nov. 24, 1925, in a small oilfield lease house just outside of Oilhill, Kansas, to his parents Sherman and Bess Dugan and sister Winifred (Dugan) Jacobs.
Tom spent his childhood hunting, fishing, playing football, and surviving the Great Depression. He graduated from Potwin, Kansas High School in 1943 and joined the U.S. Army, where he served during World War II for three years. Tom was with the Army’s 44th Tank Battalion stationed in the South Pacific during the Philippine Liberation. For his service and valor, he was awarded the Bronze Star and the Purple Heart and was honorably discharged.
After his military discharge, Tom graduated from the University of Oklahoma with a degree in Petroleum Engineering, with help from the G.I. Bill. Tom met and married Mary Elizabeth Mott on Aug. 26, 1950. Tom considered 1950 the best year of his life. He graduated from college, got a job, bought a car, and married the love of his life.
Shortly thereafter, he moved to the Four Corners area to work for Phillips Petroleum. Later, he went to work for Pacific Northwest Pipeline Corp when they acquired the Phillips properties. Tom started his own company, Dugan Production Corp., from his kitchen table on Feb. 1, 1959. Tom threw his entire being into his business, working hard every day, expecting more and more from himself and the same from everyone else.
Through hard work, sacrifice, and strong leadership, Tom grew Dugan Production into one of the largest “very” independent oil and gas companies in the San Juan Basin. Tom said, “Keep your costs low and your profits will soar.” Tom, with the help of his loyal employees, grew Dugan Production into a major player in the San Juan Basin. The company won many accolades, including being named to the New Mexico Private 100 Group.
Tom and his friend Emery Arnold co-authored and published the book “Gas!.” The final product was enhanced by the editing skills of Dorothy Winer. The book chronicles the history of gas in the San Juan Basin, from its earliest exploration to the various boom and bust cycles and the continued growth throughout the rest of the twentieth century. The book has been widely circulated and printed in multiple languages.
Throughout their 47-year marriage, Tom and Mary Dugan were dedicated and active members of the Farmington community. They were charter members of Bethany Christian Church, where they taught childrens’ Sunday School for 30 years. They gave generously to many civic organizations, including the San Juan United Way, San Juan Regional Medical Foundation- Cancer Treatment Center, San Juan College Foundation and the Farmington and Aztec Museums. Tom was a lifelong supporter of education and contributed to the University of Oklahoma and Texas Christian University. He also continued his own education, attending classes at San Juan College well into his 90s. Tom was inducted into the Farmington Historymakers, Oil and Gas Hall of Fame, and the San Juan College Hall of Fame among many other accolades.
Tom was an avid Denver Broncos and Oklahoma Sooner football fan. Tom attended as many games as he could, including multiple Super Bowls and Sooners Bowl games. The family vacations often revolved around the dates of important Sooners and Broncos games.
Tom’s generosity has benefited San Juan County for decades, creating a lasting legacy and positive impact for generations to come. While Tom’s public acts brought him much acclaim and respect, he was probably most proud of the acts of kindness he did outside the public eye: the educations he paid for, the money he provided to make people’s visions come true, and the advice and support he freely gave to anyone who sought him out. These countless selfless acts of generosity and compassion are his real legacy.
Tom was preceded in death by his wife, Mary Elizabeth Dugan (October 30th, 1998); infant daughter, Elizabeth Dugan; and son, Sherman Dugan (December 21, 2013). He is survived by his grandchildren, Sean (Adina) Dugan of Durango, Colo., Megan (Jason) Rains of Farmington; and great-granddaughter, Eleanor Elizabeth Dugan.
He will be missed by his family, friends, employees, and his Farmington community.
A memorial service for Tom will be at 3 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 18 at the San Juan College Henderson Theater, 4601 College Blvd. in Farmington with reception to follow at the School of Energy Sherman Dugan Museum of Geology, 5301 College Blvd. in Farmington.
In lieu of flowers, please donate to the San Juan College Foundation in memory of Thomas Dugan.
Tom’s care is entrusted to Brewer, Lee and Larkin Funeral Home, 103 E. Ute St. in Farmington, 505-325-8688. Those who wish to express their condolences may do so