‘Father of frozen foods’ fondly remembered

Friday October 11, 2002

Theodore Allen “Ted” Dungan, a chemical engineer, architect, civic leader and conservationist, died at age 93 on Sept. 28 of natural causes. 

Dungan was born in 1909. He graduated from Berkeley High School and went on to major in engineering, with a minor in architecture, at UC Berkeley. 

After graduating Dungan and his first wife, the late Jayne Gilmer, ran the Cinnabar Mine, a small mining operation in northern California. In 1935 he joined Gay Engineering in Phoenix where he designed and engineered some of the first industrial air-conditioning units in the country. 

He spent the winter of 1944-45 in France helping stimulate production in French war plants and received the French Legion of Honor award. After World War II, Dungan moved to San Jose and joined what is now FMC Corp., developing large-scale automatic food freezers where he earned the name “father of frozen foods.” In 1952 he joined Bechtel Corporation where he worked as project engineer for a pilot plant producing fuels for the U.S. Air Force.  

One of Dungan’s passions was flying, and he told friends that among his proudest moments was the day he received his pilot’s license. 

Dungan married his second wife, the late Ellen Stern, in 1967. He is survived by his sons Jay and Michael, his daughter Betsy, his grandchildren Catherine Cimperman, Carolyn Jayne Hanesworth and Richard, and his great-grandchildren Jacob and Hanna Jayne Cimperman, and the twins Isabella Jayne and Ana Elisabeth Hanesworth. 

Dungan felt strongly about protecting the environment. Contributions in his name can be made to Forests Forever, 973 Market Street #450, San Francisco, CA 94103, www.forestsforever.org. 


- Compiled from staff reports