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Local News

June 18, 2013

Former Duncan city manager leaves legacy, inspires current leaders

DUNCAN — There are many who love their city, but one of the first things people would learn about Doug O. Johnson when they met him was his love and dedication to Duncan.

Johnson, a former councilman and city manager for the City of Duncan, passed away Thursday at the age of 82. A lifelong resident of Duncan, he only spent time away from the city during his years attending Baylor University on a basketball scholarship.

“He knew everyone in Duncan,” said Duncan Mayor Gene Brown. “He was city manager when I first got on city council, so I’ve known him for a long time.”

After working for 24 years at Halliburton, Johnson went on to serve as Duncan city councilman from 1969-74, assistant city manager from 1975-76 and two terms as city manager. He was instrumental in helping create a solid fiscal foundation for the City of Duncan.

“He thought it was the responsibility of the city to make for a strong fiscal policy and told me that on many occasions,” said City Manager Jim Frieda, who worked with Johnson as city attorney.

“There has never been another city manager who cared more about the city than Doug did. I’ve tried to emulate him.”

Brown said that Johnson got a lot of things done without spending a lot of money. As city manager, he committed to putting $3 million into the Simmons Center and started the ground work for the police station, which was completed after he left office, Frieda said.

“He let you know up front he cared about Duncan and he had a positive attitude about everything no matter what problems he faced,” Brown said.

“When you think about the progress in Duncan in the last 15-20 years, he was responsible for laying the foundation for a lot of that.”

Both men also said that all those who worked for Johnson respected and admired him. He made the City of Duncan a place people wanted to work and were proud to work.

“I think there will always be a memory in the City of Duncan for what he did,” Brown said.

“We need to recognize that in some form. He was a great inspiration to me.”

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