WWII veteran who helped grow Carlsbad dies at 103
From serving as captain of an ordinance company in the Pacific Theatre during WWII, to supporting the development of Carlsbad’s first shopping center — Northgate Shopping Center — in the 1960s, Ed Dunagan was about community and country.
And so it’s no surprise, in the wake of Dunagan’s death at age 103 last week, that the mayor of the city he loved so much paid tribute to him, calling his life “remarkable.”
Dunagan passed away peacefully Monday, April 10, at Lakeview Christian Home in Carlsbad, according to his obituary. He was born in Alamosa, CO, in 1919, and his family moved to Carlsbad when he was about 10 years old. His father, Edgar, owned and operated Sinclair Oil Distributorship and Apartments, and Dunagan worked in the family business. In 1939, Dunagan worked at local insurance and real estate firm Carter Agency, where he met his future wife June Carter. He was drafted into the U.S. Army in 1941.
After the war, Dunagan and his wife grew their local insurance and real estate business, Dunagan Associates, which now operates at 212 W. Stevens St. Dunagan worked there for over 70 years.
During his career, Dunagan was involved in a number of real estate developments that grew Carlsbad, including the Carter Addition, Carter Acres, Pecos Acres, South Shore, Big Sky Homes, Country Acres, Hagerman Acres, Springs Farm, Quail Hollow, Riverfront and others, according to his obituary. Many of the projects were done in partnership with his relative and friend, Albert Carter and his son, George.
Dunagan also served on the Carlsbad Municipal Schools school board and as member of the Carlsbad Chamber of Commerce.
In his tribute to Dunagan, Carlsbad Mayor Dale Janway shared a tragic story about how Dunagan’s closest friend, Bob White, enlisted in the war after Dunagan was drafted. Bob became a pilot and his plane was shot down over the English Channel in 1944. His body was never recovered.
“Ed came home and was married, raised a family, has led a full life,” George Dunagan wrote about the incident, according to Mayor Janway. “He never forgot his best friend Bob, who enlisted so that he and Ed could be together. We must remember them. They are the ones who have given their lives so that we can pursue the life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness that is still the promise of America.”
A Celebration of Dunagan’s life will be held Sunday, April 23, 2023 at 2 p.m. at the Leo Sweet Community Center, 1302 Mission Ave. in Carlsbad. Military Honors will be provided by the Carlsbad Veterans Honor Guard. Burial will follow on Monday, April 24, 2023 at the Carlsbad Cemetery.