From the Asbury Park Press:
Thomas J. Dugan, 97 of Toms River, was born on October 10, 1919 and peacefully passed on October 27, 2016 with his wife by his side.
Tom moved to Toms River in 1953 where he settled to raise his family. Tom worked as a supervisor in the Powerhouse at Ciba Giegy, retiring in 1982. Tom was an active member in his community and was a parishioner of Saint Joseph’s Roman Catholic Church.
Tom Dugan was a huge man with striking blue eyes. He lived up the street from my Uncle Tom (my Dad’s cousin), who I visited often as a boy. He always had time to stop and talk to my cousin TJ and I, and their door was always open to us during the summers I visited there. He drive a gigantic yellow Cadillac, which I thought was the essence of cool, and he always dressed sharp–I remember him as a man with style. He inspired a life of community service in his family; his son served in Vietnam and later became a police officer, as did his two grandsons.
As I grew up I was fascinated with the history of World War II, and one day he told me the story of his service on the USS Borie, a 4-stack destroyer that hunted, depth-charged, and rammed the U-405, a German U-boat in the North Atlantic. The Borie wound up high-centered on the U-405’s hull and the two ships were locked together for an extended period of time, during which the two crews fought with deck guns, sidearms, and cooking utensils until they separated in the heavy seas. The U-405 sank shortly afterwards, having sustained heavy damage, and the Borie limped away into the fog, to be scuttled by friendly fire the next day.
Tom Brokaw made a big deal about the Greatest Generation, which always sounded trite to me, but Tom Dugan was the real deal. Godspeed.