Lucas Resident Served because He Felt He Could Help
As a child, Lucas resident Dale Spurgin moved to Lucas in the 1940’s. The Spurgin family moved here because his dad was a farmer. The family attended church in the community of Winningkoff at the Methodist church (current day Good Shepherd United Methodist Church) and then went to Lucas Christian Church. He attended elementary at Lovejoy School and then attended high school in Plano. Spurgin said, “School busses from Wylie, McKinney, Plano and Allen came into this area to pick up children. You could choose which school you wanted to go to. I chose Plano.” Spurgin was the youngest of 10 siblings.
Spurgin continued the family tradition and also was a farmer. In addition to the busy lifestyle of a farmer and family man (he married his wife Barbara, 58 years ago, and they had three children) he volunteered in many capacities.
In the mid 60’s, he was the interim mayor of Lucas and was the city constable for a couple of years. He said because he was farming full time and had a family, he wasn’t interested in running for mayor. In the 70’s he was on the Lovejoy Commons School District Board, from 1976 – 77 he was President of the Board of Trustees. He said, “Lovejoy Elementary was the only school at that time. Growth was beginning and we were planning for the future. This was a place I could work and the work would be beneficial to the students.” He added, “When people moved into the area, we tried to help them understand the importance of education and the fact that academics is at the top here. This has been maintained through the years. I always tried to bring about agreement on the moves that needed to be made…not having division, but striving towards unity.”
He was a member of the McKinney Co-op Association which was a co-op between farmers to improve business. He served as president of this co-op for approximately 10 years. There were approximately 100 members comprised of residents from all areas of Collin County.
In the 50’s, he was involved with the Collin County Farm Bureau, where one of their slogans was, “The Voice of Agriculture”. This bureau established farming policy and ways to sell grain, cotton and agriculture products which would help farmers improve their profitability.
From 1988 to 2016, he served on the board of the Texas Grain Sorghum Association. This association promoted grain sorghum nationally and internationally. They funded research programs to make it more profitable for farmers to sell this crop.
He served on the U.S. Grains Council, headquartered in Washington D.C. With this position, he traveled internationally for seven years and was the chairman from 2001 - 2002. He said, “We were one of the first groups allowed to go into Cuba. We met with Castro and opened up trades with Cuba under a humanitarian umbrella.” He describes a time while in Cuba, “Late in the evening, Castro wanted to meet with us. We went to the bottom of Castro’s palace and saw guys with automatic rifles. We sat at a long conference table where Castro told us how great communism was, it was a true propaganda time. We could see the poverty when we drove around Cuba. At 1 a.m., he had us all together for dinner. Castro became less formal as the time went on. We stayed up all night in Castro’s dining room.” Castro asked their group if they smoked, Spurgin answered that he did not, but had friends who did; Castro gave him a box of Cuban cigars. Spurgin added, “I believe if we opened up trade with them, we could have changed that country.”
For 50 plus years, Spurgin was a farmer and farmed 2,600 acres in this area. He farmed cotton as his main crop, then corn and wheat in the early days. Later he farmed grain sorghum because he reports, “It is more heat tolerant than corn”.
Regarding all of his time serving on boards, he said, “It was very rewarding. I felt like I could help and be a positive influence. I never imagined I would do something like that.”
Along the lines of seeing things he never imagined, he said the same for the growth that he has seen in Lucas. He and his wife have lived in the same house on Lucas Rd. since 1965. They both mentioned the uptick in traffic, “Every new house means two new cars on the road. There was a time when we could drive to Allen and not see another car.”
Spurgin is 86 years old. He said he currently maintains a garden out back. He and his wife have eight grandchildren, nine great grandchildren and one great, great grandchild. He said his greatest accomplishment is his family.