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Trans. Commissioner Dunegan named Magnolia Festival Beau

Trans. Commissioner Dunegan named Magnolia Festival Beau

Durant Daily Democrat

05.31.09 - 05:05 am
Durant City Manager James Dunegan was named this year’s Beau during the opening ceremony of the Magnolia Festival Friday evening. Shown are Dunegan, left, his wife, Sandra, and Sally Clark, chairman of the Belle and Beau Committee for the Magnolia Festival.

Durant City Manager James Dunegan was named this year’s Beau during the opening ceremony of the Magnolia Festival Friday evening. Shown are Dunegan, left, his wife, Sandra, and Sally Clark, chairman of the Belle and Beau Committee for the Magnolia Festival.
James Dunegan was named the 2009 Magnolia Festival Beau during ceremonies held Friday evening.

Born January 28, 1940, in Albany, Dunegan began operating farm equipment on his father’s farm in 1950, and started working for other farmers in 1953 until 1958.

Upon graduating from Albany High School in 1958, Dunegan worked highway construction for Smith Bros. Co. In 1959, Dunegan began a job with the City of Dallas Water Department doing civil engineering work.

In 1962, Dunegan passed the exam and transferred to the Dallas Police Department where he began working in the records department of the Intelligence Section of the Special Service Bureau. He then attended 13 weeks training at the Dallas Police Academy.

Dunegan attended classes on psychology and learned how to deal with people in all kinds of situations. On completing the academy, he did a three-month training session in radio patrol with a senior officer trainer.

After completing his 15 months probation as junior officer in radio patro,l he was then transferred to the Special Enforcement Detail. There he received special training for the purpose of working riots or any type of disaster. This group was also known as the “shotgun detail” because of armed robbery and burglary stakeouts. Also these were the years during which churches were being burned and civil rights marches happened.

Dunegan transferred back to radio patrol where he worked from downtown headquarters as senior officer on districts in the downtown area. He then transferred to the Special Service Bureau, Vice Section, for the purpose of working plain-clothes officer doing investigative work. He remained with that bureau until resigning in 1968.

“I received many hours of classroom training while with the Dallas Police Department on how to deal with people, on safety and many other aspects of life,” Dunegan said.

From 1968-1979, Dunegan was self-employed, working in sales, sales management and promoting. He owned and operated several different types of businesses, most of his duties being in sales, promotions and group presentations.

In late 1978, Dunegan moved to Durant where in May 1979, he started a business that sold fasteners and shop products on a wholesale basis. He sold this business in 1982.

Dunegan Crop Insurance Inc. was formed in 1980 and Dunegan also began the agent management business in 1982. He sold the book of business in 2004 but retained the agent management business.

In 1988, Dunegan made an unsuccessful bid for State Representative, District 21 and announced at that time he would be a candidate in 1990.

In 1990, Dunegan won the primary election with three people in the race without a runoff. He was elected five more times without opposition and served a total of 12 years.

During the time he served as a member of the Oklahoma House of Representatives he was appointed to several different committees: agriculture, tourism, economic development, transportation, higher education, appropriations and budget and public safety.

Dunegan served on a 12-member special committee appointed by the speaker of the house. He put together the first billion dollar road plan and received funding for the state, bringing more than $40 million for Highway 70 between Ardmore and Idabel with $11 million going to Bryan County.

This was followed up with the Garvee Bond on which he worked closely with Senator Billy Mickle. Senator Mickle was very instrumental on the senate side in getting language in the bill to include Highway 70, bringing close to $200 million which is still coming, part of that being the Durant loop and Highway 70 west of Mead.

Dunegan served on the Oklahoma Red River Boundary Commission for nine years and was chairman of the commission when that several year-old debate was settled.

He presented the bill on the House floor and signed the Lake Texoma Agreement for Oklahoma with now Lt. Governor David Dewhurst signing for Texas. The signing took place at SMU in Dallas.

Dunegan served on many other committees and boards while serving in the Oklahoma House of Representatives.

He served as the general treasurer for the Pilgrim Nazarene Church Inc., which includes 36 churches and foreign mission works.

Dunegan is a member of the director’s loan committee for First Texoma National Bank in Durant which approves or disapproves loans of more than $500,000.

Dunegan worked jointly with Senator Mickle through 2002 and continues to work with State Senator Jay Paul Gumm, Representative John Carey and other legislators while currently serving as vice chairman of the Oklahoma Transportation Commission.

Dunegan is the city manager for Durant. He is chairman of the Magnolia Board and the Ag-Expo. Dunegan has been a member of the Durant Kiwanis Club since 1988 and will be the incoming president at the club’s next banquet in the fall.

Dunegan’s wife is Sandy and they married in 1979. The couple has one daughter, Tammy. Mr. Dunegan has three children from a previous marriage, Mike, Steve and Lori, plus a stepdaughter Diane.

The Dunegans have 10 grandchildren and eight great-grandchildren.

Mr. and Mrs. Dunegan became Christians in 1982 and have put God first in their lives ever since. Since then, God completely changed them both and made all of the difference in the way they have lived their lives.

They are members of the Pilgrim Nazarene Church of Durant where Mr. Dunegan serves as Sunday School superintendent and board member.
© 2009

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