Laurie Stone: PNT Correspondent
Name: Robert Dunn
Born: June 7, 1924
Died: Sept. 19, 2005
Preceded in death by: his parents,; three brothers, W. D. “Dude” Dunn, W. T. “Tam” Dunn and Louis Dunn; two sisters, Violet Harris and Julia Ruth Forgay; a stepdaughter, Ovella Estes; and by his first wife, Maurine.
Survived by: his wife, Sue Dunn; a son, Robert Dunn Jr. (and wife, Toni) of Hobbs; a step-son Delbert Burdine (Joan) of Newport, N. J.; a daughter, Elizabeth “Liz” Tanner (Dave) of Clovis; six grandchildren, Shelley Brodie (Doug) of Midland, Texas, Robert Dunn III of Dallas, Jason Tanner of San Angelo, Texas, Amy Tanner of Clovis, and John Estes and Jamie Estes both of Ruidoso; seven great-grandchildren; a sister, Nelva O’Dell (Digger) of Minden, La.
Robert Dunn was a man after God’s own heart in his diligent service to other people. According to friends, he was spoken highly of often because of his outstanding characteristics.
He was a man of integrity that loved people and tried to help them in any way possible. His life gave proof that one person can make a difference in a whole community.
Robert Dunn died peacefully at the age of 81 on Sept. 19, 2005.
According to Sue Dunn, Robert Dunn’s wife, her husband was a dedicated promoter of Portales.
“If we needed to buy anything he wanted me to buy it in Portales,” Sue said. “He was a loving and caring man in many ways. If everyone had a happy marriage like we did then the divorce courts would go out of business.”
Robert Dunn was born June 7, 1924, in Roby, Texas, to Ada and Walter C. Dunn. He grew up in Roby, Texas. After graduating from Roby High School, he joined the Army Air Corps in 1943. Following his discharge he came to Portales. He married Maurine Minnick on March 10, 1946. She died Nov. 22, 1965. Dunn encountered love for the second time when he married Sue Burdine on April 28, 1967. They met in church.
Dunn worked for the New Mexico Employment Service for 31 years and retired in 1982. He was president of the Chamber of Commerce in 1962. He was part of the Industrial Corporation Committee which helped to make Portales what we know it as today. He was involved in establishing the Eastern New Mexico University Greyhound Stadium, restoring the Kaukawati road to Muleshoe and working with the community to purchase land for incoming businesses such as Southwest Canners and the ethanol plant.
He was a director of United New Mexico Bank for 15 years, a past president for the Lions Club and became involved in the American Heart Association after having heart surgery in 1975. He was a prominent leader of the First United Methodist Church and was a large participant in the rebuilding process of its structure.
For recreation, Dunn raised registered Hereford cattle, and cared for his pecan and apricot trees.
Don Davis, past Mayor of Portales, worked with Dunn on the Economic Development Board of Portales. He described Dunn as the type of person who is irreplaceable because of the selfless amount of time he invested in his community.
“He was one of those people that made all the difference in the world,” said Davis. “He maintained a decorum and was consistent. He had an integrity that made others accept his work on anything and he never sherked his responsibility,” he said.
Dunn was recognized as a man of Christian qualities that never turned people away regardless of their need. His love for others extended into the hearts of people as he spent time with the elderly and visited those confined to their homes.
According to Web Smartnick, Dunn’s friend, he was often exemplified by others because of his ability to do things well.