Thomas “Tom” J. Dugan Jr. is being remembered for his lifelong passion for the industry and his role in making the Greater New Jersey Motorcoach Association (GNJMA) a success.
Dugan, of Margate, New Jersey, died peacefully, surrounded by his family on Feb. 9, 2022, at age 65.
He was a founding member of what is now known as the Greater New Jersey Motorcoach Association and served on its board of directors.
Dugan was named President of the board five times, most recently from 2006 to 2011. In addition, he was presented with the first-ever founder’s award for his role in the organization’s inception in 1981. GNJMA celebrated its 40th anniversary last year.
“Tom was an integral part of GNJMA from the beginning and a large part of why I came to work with the association,” said Patricia Cowley, GNJMA Executive Director. “I met Tom 20 years ago facilitating a motorcoach peer group. Tom called me weekly about association business, but many times it was just to check in. I miss him dearly.”
Dugan’s caring nature made him a passionate industry advocate and a loyal friend, says Tim Stout, current GNJMA president and president of Stout’s Transportation Services in Ewing Township, New Jersey.
“Tommy and I knew each other over 30 years. His smile and laugh would light up a room. He would always call to check up on how I was, discuss insurance costs, or other industry issues. He always made me feel like he valued others opinions and I always enjoyed our conversations. He was a true asset for our industry and our association, but more importantly he was a dear friend. I will miss him and his wonderful presence at our meetings, but especially our phone conversations,” Stout said.
A lifelong career
Dugan’s love of the bus industry began early. Following his graduation from the University of Maryland, College Park. he joined the family business, Safety Bus, based out of Pennsauken, New Jersey, which became his lifelong career.
He expanded the business into new markets, including the greater Atlantic City area. With the inception of a motorcoach division, he pioneered line routes to the city and launched a new tourism and travel agency, Safety Tours and Travel, according to his obituary.
Shortly thereafter, Dugan became President of the business, a title he held until his passing.
Dugan was a leader who thought of what was best for his employees, recalls Ryan Kelly, President of Terrapin Blue.
“I really enjoyed working with Tom and felt that he was very forward-thinking. Terrapin Blue created a driver training program for Safety Bus, and Tom knew that a lot of his drivers did not speak English very well so he made us create the program in Spanish as well. So we did,” Kelly said.
Beyond the job
Outside of work, Dugan was an avid fisherman. There was no place he loved more than to be offshore in his distinctive Yellowfin Center Console boat with his boys. A Philadelphia Eagles season ticket holder for 40 years, his passion for the NFL team ran deep and was an integral part of who he was.
He was a Boy Scout in his youth and an accomplished outdoorsman throughout his life. He loved to collect classic Lionel Trains. Dugan spent 53 years in Margate, where he and Jan resided year-round.
He was also an active fundraiser for the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation, the American Heart Association and Kids Alley after-school programs.
Dugan is survived by his wife of 29 years, Janet “Jan” Dugan, and sons Tommy, Dean and Brian.
In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to one of Tom’s favorite organizations: Kids Alley, an after-school program for at-risk children in the Camden area, at https://kidsalley.org, in memory of Tom, or the Recreational Fishing Alliance, at https://joinrfa.org/donate, in his memory, to ensure generations of fishermen can bend a rod for years to come.
Condolences may be extended to the family at ghwimberg.com.