March 24th, 2007 06:30 EST
Mike Duggan: A Friend to the End
Mike Duggan, news and managing editor-- as well as director of Knight Ridder/Tribune News Service, died on August 15, 2003 in his home in Fairfax, Virginia. He was 56. Duggan helped established Knight Ridder – now McClathy Tribune – in 1973, and by 2003, it had a client list of 500 newspapers. His death was very hard for those that knew him. However, according to his coworkers it was also a shock, considering that Duggan worked out daily and played softball occasionally. The cause of his death was a massive heart attack, while doing garden work outside his house.
Lauren Stanley was an editor of Knight Ridder for both international news and sports, and worked with Duggan for seven years. Also an Episcopal priest, she personally volunteered to do the memorial service that was held in Virginia, where 250 people paid their respects to a man who-- according to Stanley-- was both “incredibly fair” and a “truly, truly good guy.”
Mike Duggan was born and raised in Detroit, Michigan, where he graduated from DeLassalle High School in 1964. That year, he enlisted in the Army and completed three tours during the Vietnam War until 1966.
Besides editor for Knight Ridder Tribune (KRT), Duggan also assisted in developing its Special Services, giving newspapers with ready-made pages of special content; KRT Campus, news services for college newspapers; KRT Syndication, publishing articles for columnists such as Mitch Albom of the Detroit Free Press. And he was a member of the American Society of Newspapers Editors.
Stanley said that Duggan was “loyal to a fault”. While still doing the Lord’s work, she continues writing a national religion column for Knight Ridder (McClathy Tribune) since August 1994, and Duggan was the first to support her. “He stood by me and said it’d be good for our readers,” Stanley continues.
“There aren’t very many newspapers editors in the world like Mike Duggan. When my mom’s third husband died, Mike covered for me. He said, ‘Take all the time you need’. Mike was very good at taking care of us. He was a good newspaperman; that’s a dying breed in journalism.”
Like Lauren Stanley, Brent Bierman agreed that Duggan had a “degree of loyalty with people he worked for”. An assistant managing editor of news for McClathy that worked with Duggan for seventeen years until his death, he also said that Duggan was not the kind of person to hold a grudge; it goes against his character. “The one quality,” Bierman said, “that stood out for Mike was his basic decency. He treated people with fairness and compassion, and listened with empathy. Mike always tried to do the right thing. Everyone thought the world of Mike.”
The funeral service was held in a Roman Catholic Church in Detroit, where his wife of 30 years, Noreen; his sister, Patricia Houston and his brother Kevin, both of whom are Detroit residents; and several nieces and nephews, survives Duggan.
“He [Mike],” states Stanley, “was well, well loved – one of the truly good people that ever walked on the Earth.”