Oct. 13, 1916 - June 1, 2008
WILLISTON - Dr. Edward J. “Bud” Hagan, 91, Williston, died Sunday in his home while surrounded by his family.
His Mass of Christian Burial will be concelebrated at 11 a.m. Friday, June 6, 2008, at St. Joseph’s Catholic Church in Williston by Father John Guthrie, Father John Paul Gardner and Father Raymond Aydt. Burial will be at Riverview Cemetery, with full military honors provided by the Veterans Honor Guard.
A Rosary will be recited at 7 p.m. Thursday at St. Joseph’s Catholic Church.
Friends may call at the Everson Funeral Home of Williston from 1-7 p.m. Wednesday, from 9 a.m. until 6 p.m. Thursday, and at the church on Friday for the hour preceding the funeral mass.
Dr. Hagan, the son of Joan (Garvey) Hagan and the late Williston pioneer surgeon and physician, Dr. E.J. Hagan, Sr., graduated from Williston High School in 1934.
He went on to complete his pre-medical work at the University of North Dakota where he earned his Bachelor of Arts degree, before going on to the University of Minnesota to receive his Bachelor of Science degree.
In June of 1942 Dr. Hagan received his Doctor of Medicine degree at Rush Medical College, an adjunct of the University of Chicago.
He interned at Ancker Hospital in St. Paul, Minn., and on Dec. 22, 1942, was commissioned as a lieutenant, junior grade in the U.S. Navy Reserve Medical Corps. Dr. Hagan entered active duty with the U.S. Navy in April of 1943 attached to the 1st Marine Division as a combat surgeon.
His time in service to his country included four contested landings with the Marines which earned him a Purple Heart, Silver Star, two Bronze Stars and two Presidential Unit Citations, along with many other decorations.
Author Bill D. Ross best sums up Dr. Hagan’s service to his country with a personal note in the jacket of his book, “Peleliu: Tragic Triumph,” which was presented to Dr. Hagan on Aug. 16, 1991.
“To Edward J. Hagan, MD, whose human compassion and medical skills have been a shining pinnacle of devoted service to mankind during more than a half-century of war and the promise of peace. From the halls of where you are now to the shores of where you may be tomorrow, may your kit always be filled with happiness and pride of accomplishment you so richly deserve, on this planet and beyond.”
The author, who also penned “Iwo Jima,” signed his thoughts Semper Fidelis and God Bless.
In another autographed book jacket for a family member, Ross added, “I hope you will better understand why, to the combat marines and corpsmen who knew him there, Dr. Hagan is a forever remembered legend of courage, bravery, compassion and medical miracles to whom so very many owed their lives.”
His World War II battle experiences set the stage for a stellar life of service back in his home town of Williston.
In 1946 Dr. Hagan began his medical practice in Williston, where he later joined hands with Dr. John P. Craven and Dr. Joseph Craven in founding Craven-Hagan Clinic, where he worked until his retirement which came in 1984.
On June 29, 1949 he was united in marriage to Kathleen O’Connor at St. Anthony’s Catholic Church in Culbertson, Mont.
As Dr. Hagan tended to his medical practice, he also found time to raise his family along with farming and ranching among his hobbies.
At the same time he set a very high standard in giving back to his community of Williston.
He served as a director of American State Bank and Trust Company for 53 years and sat on the founding board as a director of Northwest Federal Savings & Loan.
Dr. Hagan served as a member of the Williston Park Board for 20 years, acting as president for 16 of those years. That led to him receiving a Certificate of Merit from the Williston Chamber of Commerce for his work in promoting and building the Indoor Pool, which opened in 1969. Recently he was rewarded for his efforts with the Indoor Pool being officially named the E.J. Hagan, MD, Aquatics Center.
Education was very important to him and the family name lives on for future generations with the Hagan Elementary School serving as a reminder of that, along with the library at St. Joseph’s Elementary being named in honor of his family.
In addition, Dr. Hagan found time to serve on the State Medical Board and as a founding member and director of the Williston Oilers baseball team.
He was an active member of St. Joseph’s Catholic Church, where he served as chairman of the fund drive to enlarge the school. He was also active in the Knights of Columbus, Disabled American Veterans, American Legion, Veterans of Foreign Wars and the Navy League.
Among his fondest projects was his post as Chairman of the Friends of Fort Union. He was among a group of visionaries who put in the time and effort to re-create a national historical site that flourishes today. In 1990 he was presented the Elwyn B. Robinson Award for his role in preserving North Dakota history, while also receiving an award the same year from the University of North Dakota for his distinguished, “Achievement and Service to Humanity.”
Another honor in 1990 was extended to Dr. Hagan in the form of a North Dakota Community Leadership Award, presented by the Greater North Dakota Association. He also received the Little Muddy Soil Conservation Award for his conservation practices at his farm, especially tree planting.
Other organizations Dr. Hagan dedicated his time included serving as a member and officer of the Organization Committee for the University of North Dakota-Williston Foundation. He was recognized for his role as Honorary Chapter Farmer FFA, Distinguished Service Award NDEA, Founding Board and director of North Dakota Community Foundation, City Health Officer, County Coroner, North Dakota Stockman’s Association and serving as a founder of the North Dakota Heritage Center.
Dr. Hagan is survived by his wife Kathleen, his children Edward J. Hagan, III (B.J.), Mary Kathleen “Katie” Keogh (Frank), Michael C. Hagan, M.D. (Deb), Mary Genevieve Ledecky (Dave), Mary Anne Nichols (Jim), Mary Margaret “Peg” Hagan, Mary Colleen Letendre (Guy), 17 grandchildren, his sisters Eveleen Beddow and Genevieve Hagan, and numerous nieces and nephews.
He was preceded in death by his parents and his sister Kathleen Nygaard.
In lieu of flowers the family requests that memorials be directed to Mercy Medical Foundation designated for the Leonard P. Nelson Cancer Treatment Center, St. Joseph’s Elementary School and the E.J. Hagan, MD Aquatics Center.
Condolences may be e-mailed to the family at firstname.lastname@example.org The Everson Funeral Home of Williston is caring for the family.