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WWII fighter pilot Michael Jugan captured, escaped

| Saturday, April 26, 2014, 7:34 p.m.
Michael R. Jugan, 90, of Duquesne, died Thursday, April 24, 2014, in UPMC McKeesport.
Michael R. Jugan, 90, of Duquesne, died Thursday, April 24, 2014, in UPMC McKeesport.

Michael Jugan didn't believe in sideline parenting, one of his sons said.

“He was a very loving husband, and he was very active in raising us … in our sporting activities and hunting, fishing,” said Michael Jugan of Knoxville, Tenn.

Michael Richard Jugan of Duquesne died of complications from a stroke on Thursday, April 24, 2014, in UPMC McKeesport. He was 90.

A decorated World War II veteran, Mr. Jugan was an energetic man who valued giving back to his community, his family said.

Born May 7, 1923, in Duquesne, Mr. Jugan was one of seven children born to Michael and Marie Jugan. He graduated from Duquesne High School before attending what is now Carnegie Mellon University for two years, his son said.

He left school to serve as a Mustang P-51D fighter pilot in the 9th Air Force, 354th Fighter Group and 353rd Squadron in France during World War II. He became a prisoner of war after his plane was knocked out of the sky when he strafed a German ammunition train that exploded, his family said, but he escaped and returned to active duty.

He was awarded a Bronze Star, Purple Heart and other medals for his valor, his family said.

In the early 1980s, Mr. Jugan retired as a senior draftsman at Westinghouse Electric Corp. in East Pittsburgh after 43 years of employment.

Mr. Jugan's wife of 53 years, Margaret “Peg” Popovich Jugan, died at 75 in 1998.

He volunteered at LifeSpan's Mon Valley @ Olympia Community Resource Center in McKeesport, said his daughter-in-law Deborah Jugan.

“He stayed active up until the end,” she said.

Mr. Jugan was a charter member of the Knights of Columbus No. 4210 and its 4th Degree Color Corps, and a member of St. Joseph Church in Duquesne, the former Knights of Columbus Senior Citizens, Men's Club of St. Joseph Parish, P-51 Mustang Pilots Association and West Mifflin Men's Garden Club.

In addition to his sons Michael and Thomas Jugan of the Pittsburgh area, Mr. Jugan is survived by two grandchildren, Michael and Maria Jugan, and his sister, Marcella Blasko of White Oak.

He was preceded in death by his siblings Robert, Kenneth and Paul Jugan, Marie McAllan and Rosella Yusko.

Visitation will be from 9:30 a.m. to noon Sunday in the Maloy-Schleifer Funeral Home Inc., 915 Kennedy Ave., Duquesne. Funeral prayers will be offered at 9 a.m. Monday in the funeral home, followed by a Mass of Christian Burial at 9:30 a.m. in St. Joseph Church, 817 Grant Ave., Duquesne. Interment, with military honors, will be in St. Joseph Cemetery, West Mifflin.

Tory N. Parrish is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at 412-380-5662 or tparrish@tribweb.com.

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