By Nick Archer
John Louis Dugan grew up during the Depression in Brooklyn, New York, far from the life that he would eventually come to love on Keoka Lake. During his childhood he watched ships entering and exiting the Brooklyn Navy Yard and dreamed of someday owning a boat of his own. He joined the Navy as soon as he was old enough, giving him his first chance to be on the water.
He and his wife, Edna, raised their three daughters on Long Island, NY while he served as a New York City firefighter for twenty-five years. During that time, John and his family discovered their love of Maine as they vacationed throughout the state. In 1976, the recently retired Dugans began visiting their middle daughter, Eileen, who moved to East Waterford to accept a teaching position in Norway. During these many visits, John and Edna fell in love with the beauty of the area.
They found a partially developed piece of property on Keoka Lake where they built a lovely home. The first thing John did was buy a canoe and a sailboat. To say that John loved Keoka Lake would be an understatement. His love of nature flourished in his new life on the lake and he woke up every morning amazed by the beauty of Keoka. Most afternoons you could find John in his blue and white Puffer sailboat on the water. Due to his love of the lake, he joined the Keoka Lake Association and served as treasurer, and helped to monitor the dam for many years.
John shared his love of the lake and nature with his family, and Keoka Lake quickly became a cherished part of his family’s lives. Sadly, John passed away much too young in 2002 at the age of 76 from ALS. His family, including his wife, 3 children, 12 grandchildren, and 18 great grandchildren, have continued to gather for family reunions on Keoka Lake. Although John is deeply missed, his love for Keoka lives on in the hearts and minds of his family. The house and beach remain in the family and his legacy and love of Keoka will endure for years to come.