Missing Kerry Dugan

With sadness, we share that former PRSA Oregon member and longtime PR colleague Kerry Dugan died earlier this month of brain cancer/glioblastoma, at the age of 60.

Many in our community remember Kerry. Practitioner Paulette Peynet, CFRE, shared her memory, “Kerry’s mastery of public relations was superior. But, more, Kerry was a treasured colleague. He helped many people, from newcomers to seasoned practitioners. He helped our local PRSA chapter. He absolutely advanced our public relations profession as a management discipline.”

Dianne Danowski Smith, APR, Fellow PRSA said, “I knew Kerry well and am so very sorry our community has lost his light. He and I served on the PRSA PDX board together in the mid-90s, co-conducted job search workshops together in 1997-’98 for the chapter, won a Spotlight together in 2000, and then I hired him and his firm, Dugan Strategic Marketing, to work with me on two major clients from 2010 to 2017.” She added that he made a strong impression on those who knew him and was already ready to help whenever needed.

Said David Thompson, APR, “Kerry was one of the nicest, most helpful people I’ve met in the PR industry. He always had a smile and an encouraging word. He inspired me—and I’m sure many others.”

Kerry had quite a successful and multifaceted career. Early in his PR career (after modeling in NYC), he directed regional marketing for Ringling Bros./Barnum & Bailey Circus, Walt Disney on Ice, and Evergreen International Aviation. In the 1980s, Kerry learned the ropes from his mother, Mary Dugan, who was legendary in advertising. Kerry had memberships and provided board leadership to both the PRSA PDX board and the Portland Advertising Federation. In the ‘90s, he served in the City of Portland’s Emergency Management Bureau and ran for Multnomah County Commissioner in 2004. He eventually founded two agencies: Dugan Inc. Advertising and Public Relations, and most recently, Dugan Strategic Marketing.

His community outreach voluntarism was also legendary, serving in key roles for American Red Cross, MacDonald Residence/Assisted Living, Columbia River Correctional Institution, Multnomah County foster child camps, Meals on Wheels, and at Hiteon Elementary in art literacy.

Peynet added, “Those who knew Kerry will remember his stunning work on our PRSA board. He was a leader in every PRSA program: speaker recruitment, conference, professional development, Spotlight Awards, mentoring. I saw him often at UO’s portfolio reviews, meeting one-to-one with an appreciative PR student.”

She continued, “For those who knew Kerry, they will remember his precise expertise, his long list of achievements and, most of all: his humanity. Our Oregon chapter is fortunate to have had legends like Bill Marsh, John Pihas, Barbara Stallcup Miller. Add Kerry Dugan to the list of Oregon public relations treasures.”

If you knew Kerry and would like to share your remembrances with the family, email [email protected].

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