Senator Jim Dunn’s Obituary from Fidler-Isburg Funeral home

Retired State Senator Jim Dunn’s obit has been posted on-line, and it’s well worth the read:

State Senator James Bernard “Jim” Dunn, 89, life-long resident of Lead, died Thursday, August 11, 2016 at the VA Hospice in Sturgis, South Dakota, after a year of declining health. Known as a faithful public servant on the local, state and national level, as well as for his years with Homestake Mining Company, Jim was defined by his love for family, his hometown of Lead, and the State of South Dakota. Born on June 27, 1927 to William and Lucy (Mullen) Dunn in a house above the Old Abe mine shaft in Lead, Jim attended St. Patrick’s Grade School and Lead High School, graduating in June 1945. Upon graduation, Jim enlisted in the United States Army and served in the Signal Corps for a year before transferring to Task Force Frost in Camp McCoy, Wisconsin, where he tested military communications equipment in winter conditions for eventual use in the Korean conflict. Always colorful with language, PFC Dunn’s assessment was, “some of the items we tested weren’t worth a damn!” With an honorable discharge in hand, Jim returned to his hometown of Lead in 1947 and began a satisfying 38 year career with Homestake Mining Company, starting as a machinist, heavy equipment and diesel engine mechanic in the Mechanical Department. In 1962, he began working concurrently in Homestake’s Public Affairs Department and as a lobbyist, representing Homestake’s interests in Pierre from 1963 to 1970. After completing a business administration/economics degree at Black Hills State College in 1962, Dunn was promoted to Assistant Director of Public Affairs from 1962 to 1978, when he was then named Director of Public Affairs where he remained until his retirement in 1985. Over his tenure, he was the Associate Editor of Homestake’s “Sharp Bits” publication and was the principle photographer and print maker for Homestake photographs that were used in print, magazine and TV news. Most of the photographs of the building of the early Neutrino chamber were the handiwork of Jim Dunn. Dunn also contributed to several publications and television/movies, including, The Homestake Story (co-authored with Donald P. Howe), Homestake’s Bulldog Mountain Silver Mine, and “The Violent Universe”, a 1969 PBS/BBC documentary about the solar system and neutrinos. Among ‘other duties as assigned’, Dunn filled the role of Director of the Homestake Recreation Center, and managed the Homestake Surface Tours, which were offered every summer to tourists from around the globe. For thirty years, Jim designed, constructed, assembled, and staffed the Homestake informational booth at the South Dakota State Fair in Huron, offering the citizens of South Dakota a glimpse of the underground world of gold mining in the “Largest Gold Mine in the Western Hemisphere”. Dunn also was a familiar site in the 1950-1960s along parade routes in the Black Hills as the bass drum player in the Homestake Marching and Concert Band. Most recently he tried his hand as a thespian, having bit roles in the Homestake Opera House productions of “Fiddler on the Roof” and “The Music Man”. Dunn was active in membership and leadership positions in several organizations: Knights of Columbus, Black Hills Badlands and Lake Association, Black Hills Girl Scout Council (first male president!), Lead Chamber of Commerce, Society of Black Hills Pioneers, Lead Toastmasters, Lead United Fund, American Institute of Mining Engineers/Black Hills Section, American Legion, Lead Civic Association, Lawrence County Historical Society, Adams Memorial Museum and House, South Dakota Centennial Commission, Lead Economic Development Board, Homestake Veteran’s Association, Black Hills State University Alumni Association, Black Hills Eye Institute Foundation, South Dakota Auto Club, and South Dakota Blue Shield. In 1970, Jim was tapped to run for the South Dakota House of Representatives on the Lawrence County (Districts 26, 31) Republican ticket. After one two-year term (1971-1972) in the House, Dunn began an unbroken, 28-year incumbency in the South Dakota Senate, making him the fourth individual in the State’s history to hold a legislative seat for thirty years. Senator Dunn was a long-standing member of the Senate Agricultural and Natural Resources Committee, and served as its Chair for twenty years. Other committee appointments included the State Affairs Committee (Vice Chair), Tax Committee (member), and Health and Welfare (Chair and Vice Chair). By all accounts, Dunn ran committee meetings with a fair hand, didn’t like political posturing, kept to time limits, and let all who came to present on an issue be heard. During his tenure in office, Senator Dunn held progressive leadership positions on the South Dakota Legislative Research Council, and served as both the Assistant Majority and Assistant Minority Leader. Jim also was active on a national level through his work with the Council of State Governments (CSG), and the National Council on State Legislatures (NCSL). Due to term limits, Dunn’s public service to the good citizens of South Dakota ended with the 2000 legislative session. Dunn received many honors and awards during his lifetime, including being a 2002 inductee to the South Dakota Hall of Fame, named 1996 Legislator of the Year by the National Republican Legislators Association, City of Deadwood Wall of Fame inductee, Lead-Deadwood High School Hall of Fame, Black Hills State University Distinguished Alumni, a 1967 Presidential Appointment to the U.S. Selective Service Board ‘Friend of Law Enforcement Award” by the SD Peace Officers Association, Dakota State’s “Distinguished Contribution to the Preservation of South Dakota History” award, U.S. Department of Defense appointment to the SD Committee for Employer’s Support for the Guard and Reserve, Grand Knight – St. Patrick’s Knights of Columbus, Distinguished Service Award from the Masonic Lodge, Secretary of Defense “Exceptional Public Service” award, and Williamson Militia Man Award by the SD National Guard. These are but a few accolades/awards Jim Dunn received over the course of his lifetime of service. Jim was swept off his feet in 1954 when he met the love of his life, Elizabeth “Betty” Lanham from Beresford, SD, and they were married in September 1955. Together they raised four children and he was an especially proud father of the people his children became, and their place in the world. For all his travels and accomplishments, Jim Dunn liked nothing better than time spent with family and friends. The family cabin in Spearfish Canyon was a special spot, and many a t-shirt was ‘sweated up’ working on his little spot of heaven. A man of deep Catholic faith, and strong Irish heritage, Jim believed in straight talk and common sense, and lived his life with those foundations. Dunn was genuinely interested in people and their stories, and had an innate sense of working with others. Dunn’s family attests to the fact that he’d never met a stranger. Jim is survived by his four children, Sue (Alec Tsoucatos) Dunn of Denver, CO, Tom (Sharon) Dunn of Denver, CO, Mary Beth (Dennis) Mallow of Black Hawk, SD, and Kathy (Lew) Forti, Youngstown, NY. He was a loving grandfather to Jennifer (Jeremie)Young, Kaitlin Mallow, Laura Mallow, Kristina Burley, Brian Forti, Nick (Wendy) Kolchev, Larisa (Jeffrey) Gutierrez, Sara (Craig) Hendrick, Sam Forti, and great-grandfather to Melanie and Nicholas Hendrick and Kiera Gutierrez. Other survivors include siblings, Bill “Jerry” (Jane) Dunn of Omaha, NE, Mary Margaret Stelloh of Denver, CO, and several cousins, nieces and nephews. Jim was preceded in death by his wife of nearly 60 years and the ‘prettiest girl he ever saw’, Betty, who died in April 2015, grandsons James Mallow and Thomas Burley, and his parents. Memorials have been established with the Adams Museum, Homestake Opera House, St. Patrick’s Altar Society, Black Hills Mining Museum and Society of Black Hills Pioneers. Visitation will be from 5:00 to 7:00 P.M. Thursday, August 18 at St. Patrick’s Catholic Church, Lead, followed by Rosary at 7:00 P.M. Funeral services will be held at 10:00 A.M., Friday, August 19 at St. Patrick’s Catholic Church. Interment will be at Holy Cross Cemetery in Lead. Arrangements are under the care of the Lead-Deadwood Memorial Chapel in Lead. Online condolences may be written at