Column: Dad loved building homes, friendship

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Commentary by Dave Dugan

Jim Dugan’s life began in Indianapolis on Aug. 14, 1934, a day that hit over 100 degrees.  Dad said it was the hottest day of that summer (well, he didn’t say it right then, he was a baby).

Dad was born to be a builder and built his first home when he was 19, about the time he married mom, Martha Price, kicking off 59 years of being happy together.

In 1961, Jim bought a lot in a brand-new neighborhood in Carmel, Harrowgate. While building a home there, he bought a small house for us on Main Street.

In these pre-roundabout years, the Jim Dugan family loved everything that was Carmel. The hole-in-the-wall movie theater, Toots drive-in, Carmel basketball. Soon Dad, who had already built many homes on Indianapolis’ northside, decided to focus on helping the Carmel community grow. He not only built houses all over town, but he also developed neighborhoods like Valleybrook, Brookshire Village and Buckhorn and built one of Carmel’s very first apartment complexes – Park Lane. And something a lot of folks don’t know is that Jim designed a golf course in Noblesville, Pebble Brook.

Dad took incredible care of my mom, my sister, Debbie, and me. But building was his life and his favorite topic for conversation. His contractors, suppliers and crews were not only part of his team, but they were also his friends. Dad was a rare breed, not about profit but more about building a great quality home at a fair price. Many he built homes for ended up being among mom and dad’s best friends. My family also had the added blessing of living in “a Jim Dugan home” right next door to my folks.

Despite his impressive talent, Dad was humble. And he was smart, very funny — a perfectionist. But above all he was generous. He was the most generous man I ever knew and was always there for all his family and friends, ready to help out whenever needed.

We take solace in him being reunited with Mom as they had such a special thing here on earth. Dad may have passed away on Nov. 15 but got to share his God-given talent with so many families in a community he loved, as his many Carmel homes and neighborhoods live on.

Those left behind: Son, Dave (Heidi), Daughter, Debbie Martz. Grandkids: Derek (Martz), Max (Elizabeth) Dugan, Riley Dugan. Great-grandchildren Edmund and Anastasia. One surviving brother, Bob, and a sister-in-law, Judy.

Dave Dugan, a Carmel resident and comedian, is the son of Jim Dugan.


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