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John "Jack" Plunkett Lundergan II, former Freeport police officer, dies at 66

John Plunkett Lundergan, a former police officer, police

John Plunkett Lundergan, a former police officer, police union president, chamber of commerce president and lacrosse coach, is seen in this undated photo.

He is described as a guy who had his hand in every pot. He was a lacrosse coach, a police officer, a police union president, a Chamber of Commerce president, a proud Irishman, and a mentor who shepherded hundreds into law enforcement and helped build a facility for police union members.

John "Jack" Plunkett Lundergan II died March 4 at home surrounded by family 17 months after having been diagnosed with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, also known as Lou Gehrig's disease. The former Freeport resident was 66.

Lundergan was born in Freeport on Oct. 27, 1948, to Marcelle and John Plunkett Lundergan. His father died when he was 2, and his mother died when he was 14. He was raised by his eldest brother, Donald Lundergan, who now lives in The Villages, Florida.

Lundergan grew up on President Street in Freeport, said his wife of nearly 22 years, Kathleen Lundergan.

He went to Holy Redeemer for elementary and middle school, and he graduated from Freeport High School, where he was on the wrestling team, captain of the football team and a standout lacrosse player.

He attended Midwestern College in Iowa before transferring to Parsons College, also in Iowa, from which he graduated in 1971 with a degree in physical education.

His eldest son from his first marriage, Ryan Lundergan of Huntington Station, described his father as joyful, energetic and very "hands on."

Ryan Lundergan said his father was a teacher before law enforcement became his passion.

"He said that he enjoyed the teaching thing but felt there was more to give," he said. "His motor never really stopped. He was always doing something."

John Lundergan joined the Freeport Police Department in 1975, starting in patrol then moving to traffic safety. In 1978 he became the police union's financial secretary, rising to be the Freeport Police Benevolent Association's president by 1987.

In addition to his being Freeport PBA president, Lundergan led the union to join the Fraternal Order of Police. His role in the affiliation is evidenced by the fact that the group's lodge number -- 170 -- was Lundergan's badge number. The police union office and shooting range bears his name and is dubbed "the house that Jack built."

He represented the PBA at the Freeport Chamber of Commerce and served as its president from 1993 to 1994. In 1994, Lundergan, who had also been an assistant high school lacrosse coach, was asked by then-Mayor Arthur Thompson to create the Freeport Police Athletic League and serve as its first director.

He stepped down from that role in 2000 to return to patrol and be PBA treasurer. Lundergan retired in 2005 and moved with his family to Selbyville, Delaware. He continued to coach high school lacrosse there for five years.

"He went to the gym three days a week, he loved to jog, loved to garden, but lacrosse was his passion," Kathleen Lundergan said. "He was one of a kind, I'll tell you that."

Lundergan was diagnosed with ALS in October 2013.

His wife said he remained active for as long as he could.

"He was taking a spin class up until August of 2014. He fought it tooth and nail . . . He was just so sad to leave his family," she said.

A 5-kilometer walk/run, Run 4 Jack, is scheduled for next Saturday in Frankford, Delaware. The event will raise money for the Peninsula Regional Medical Center in Salisbury, Maryland, where Lundergan was treated.

In addition to his wife, son and brother, he is survived by daughters Maureen Kaminski of Bayside, Queens, and Megan of Selbyville, Delaware; son Kevin of Selbyville; two grandchildren; and brother Robert of North Carolina.


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