Catholic Diocese of Spokane, Washington



From the

Official News Magazine of the Diocese of Spokane

Eric Meisfjord, Editor
P.O. Box 1453, Spokane WA 99210
(509) 358-7340; FAX: (509) 358-7302


Rest in Peace: Father William Dugan

(From the , 2016 edition of the Inland Register)

Father William Dugan (IR file photo, 1959)

Father William M. Dugan, ordained to the priesthood May 21, 1949, died March 14 in San Diego, Calif. He was 96.

Visitation and recitation of the rosary were held March 18 at the Featheringill Mortuary, San Diego. The memorial Mass was celebrated March 19 at St. Anthony de Padua Parish, National City, Calif.

He was born on June 1, 1919, in Battle Creek, Mich., the oldest of four children. He attended St. Phillip School in Battle Creek before receiving his BA in Philosophy and Literature at Notre Dame in 1941.

He served in the US. Army in Europe during World War II, from 1942-1945. Bill then attended St. Paul Seminary in St. Paul, Minn., where he was ordained to the priesthood.

Father Dugan was originally ordained for the Diocese of Grand Rapid, Mich. He was incardinated as a priest of the Spokane Diocese – that is, joined the Spokane Diocese – in 1965.

Father Dugan served in several parishes in the Spokane Diocese: assistant pastor of Sacred Heart, Spokane; administrator of the parishes in Republic and Othello; and pastor in Davenport, Brewster, Twisp, and Sprague.

In 1973 he began a retirement of sorts and moved to California. Around 1987, however, he returned to active ministry at St. Rose of Lima Parish in Chula Vista, Calif. Seven years later he moved to St. Anthony de Padua Church, National City, where he ministered until 2014, when he moved to assisted living at Nazareth House, San Diego.

He had a sharp intellect and a quick wit. He was devoted to his deep Catholic Faith and to God.

In an article titled “Philosophy begins in wonder,” which he wrote for the 1957 Christmas edition of the Inland Register, Father Dugan said: “Nothing changes truth. And it is as true now as almost 20 hundred years ago that a far greater and deeper mystery than the Sputnik launchings occurred at the first Christmas. At that time the Earth did not go to the heavens. Rather, the heavens came to the Earth.”

He knew what it was like to struggle with the pain of being human. When asked about his secret to living a long life, he credited his parishioners at St. Anthony de Padua for giving him meaning and purpose in his life.

“Father Bill Dugan was pastor of my home parishes Sacred Heart in Brewster and St. Genevieve in Twisp for a relatively short period of time,” said Bishop William Skylstad, Bishop Emeritus of the Spokane Diocese. “My contact with him in those years was relatively brief, but when I returned to the diocese as bishop in 1990, we corresponded periodically.

“He was always very grateful for the support of the diocese in his years of retirement and was generous back to the diocese in return,” said Bishop Skylstad. “In these later years, Father Dugan served as best he could in the San Diego area, always sensitive to the privilege of serving others in his priesthood. May he rest in peace.”

In lieu of flowers, Father Dugan requested that any gifts in his name be forwarded to the Catholic Diocese of Spokane, P.O. Box 1453, Spokane, WA 99210-1453.


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