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Profiles of People: “Intentions”

Doug Ramsay photo

Mike Dunican at his Lake Stevens home last week.

SNOHOMISH — Mike Dunican is a captivating person and someone whose intentions are to live a life of service and reflection all year long. It’s not just a New Year resolution.
Born in Brooklyn, New York (remember that location) in October 1951, Dunican was adopted and spent his childhood in Massachusetts on a farm that conjures up the sights and smells of making maple syrup. He was raised with one sister, also adopted, who is four years older.
Dunican didn’t find out he was adopted until he was six, and he had no way to find his birth parents until adulthood, because
his court documents were sealed and his adoptive parents chose not to discuss the topic. He knew he didn’t look like his family, but really didn’t worry about it. Not knowing certainly
didn’t slow him down from making the most of the life he knew.
He graduated from a university in New York and made his career as an aeronautical engineer at Boeing locally, where he retired in 2014. He is the proud father to Mary, a dental assistant, and Patrick, a newly minted teacher. He already has one grandson, Rigel, and hopes to have many more as the years unfold.
Retirement has provided such interesting adventures: He travels on pilgrim-ages for relig-ious or spiritual purposes. He just completed his 12th pilgrimage walk on the El Camino de Santiago through Spain. He travels all over the world: France, Spain, Portugal, Venice, Dubai, Jerusalem.
He always tries to tie his pilgrimages into volunteering. When he walks “The Camino,” he works at the centers that stamp other pilgrims’ books. He cleans the toilets, and greets the many people who also find comfort and pleasure in walking or horseback riding to get from the beginning to the end of a spiritual journey. Dunican hopes to keep on with these journeys for many years to come.
As a man who helped make the airplanes I know I have flown in many times, Dunican is always seeking new ways
to stay engaged and make a difference. He stays occupied with local endeavors. He cooks meals for more than 100 people at the Community Kitchen run out of St. John’s Episcopal Church in Snohomish. He also works at the community garden at St. Michael’s Catholic Church to provide fresh vegetables for the Snohomish Food Bank. He is the elected Precinct Committee Officer for the Republican Party in Lake Stevens. He is the Vice Chair of the Boeing Prosperity Club, and he teaches English at the library once a week. But he does more than that.
Dunican is a full or partial owner of four gold mines in Washington state and is Vice Chair of the Blewett Mining District, which handles mining laws in this state.
“I like working in the water,” he tells me. “Its always exciting to find a big gold nugget resting on the bedrock in a stream with the sun pouring down on the clean mountain stream water.”
He flies a lot and I must assume this should give the rest of us extended confidence. However, years ago he did have one bad experience, funny now, where he and others had to ‘put down’ — euphemism for ‘crash’ — a private plane while on a pleasure trip from Idaho to Las Vegas. All the electrical stopped working and the pilot had to nose land. The good news was they crashed right outside a fire station. The bad news was where they crash-landed:
“All the four of us wanted at that time was a drink, but we had landed in Utah.” Luckily all four walked away, sober and unharmed.
How does New York fit into this profile? Here’s how: When Dunican’s parents died, he and his sister cleaned out their home and found Dunican’s birth certificate. Recently Dunican used because he wanted to know his ethnicity.
Through DNA he did find his ethnicity immediately, but he found much more. He found five half-siblings,
many cousins and other relatives from his family. There are so many that when they reconnected they had to rent an entire room for a family gathering.
“It was a very pleasant surprise at age 66. This is nothing short of miraculous — and perhaps a reward for walking the Camino so many times,” he said.
Of course, they all live in New York!

Author Patricia Therrell’s column traditionally runs on the third week of the month.
If you’d like to suggest someone to profile, let the Tribune know: 360-568-4121 or


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