Helen Marie Ashley Dunn

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Helen Marie Ashley Dunn November 22, 1925 – January 10, 2011 Helen Marie Ashley Dunn passed away on January 10, 2011, after a long illness. She was born November 22, 1925, in Muskogee, Oklahoma, to Alvin and Marie Ashley, their second child and first daughter. She spent most of her youth in Booneville, Arkansas, rich in family and friends. Helen delighted her children and grandchildren by telling stories about her youthful adventures with her two brothers (Al and Billy) and two younger sisters (Midge and JoAnn) in rural Arkansas. Helen's mother, Marie, instilled in her children a strong love of family and a diligent work ethic. Joining the cadet nursing corps, Helen graduated as a registered nurse from the Sparks Memorial Hospital School of Nursing in 1947. That same year, she married James (Jim) Beach Dunn in Fayetteville, AR. When Jim hired on with Humble Oil (now ExxonMobil) as a geologist, they moved to Houston, Texas. Their two daughters, Jeannie and Teri, were born while the couple resided in Houston. After the birth of her oldest child, Helen worked nights as a nurse at Texas Children's Hospital. Helen continued her formal education by completing her Bachelor's degree at the University of Houston and then served as a school nurse in the Houston School District. In 1961, the family moved to New Orleans, Louisiana, where Exxon transferred Jim's oil and gas exploration division. Helen continued her education at Tulane University completing a Masters Degree in Public Health in 1963, and then a Doctorate in Public Health in 1974. She served as the Dean of the Louisiana State University's School of Nursing in New Orleans for 20 years, and worked tirelessly building and expanding the program. Well-known in her profession, she was highly regarded for her diligent work to improve nursing education programs. Helen retired from this position at the age of 70 and one half so she could spend more time with her family. After 35 years in New Orleans, Helen and Jim moved to Grand Junction in the fall of 1999 to be close to their children and grandchildren. They enjoyed their new home and the kindness of their new neighbors and friends. Helen took great pride in her large backyard garden and enjoyed sharing vegetables and fruit from her trees with family and friends. After Jim died in the spring of 2001, she traveled, seeing faraway places that she dreamed of visiting as a young adult. She delighted in taking family members along with her. Her generosity and kindness touched both family and friends, and she was exceptional at finding positive opportunities for herself and others. Helen is survived by her sister, JoAnn Donathan of Temple Terrace, Florida; her brother, Billy Ashley of LaMarque, Texas; her daughters, Jeannie Dunn Dowell and Teri Dunn; her son-in-law, Dick Dowell; grandchildren, Ashlie Samson, Mandie Considine, Sylas and Seth Ashton, and Carmele Lauber, as well as six beautiful great grandchildren, Avery, Liam, Hayden Grethel and Emma, Eli, and Miles Considine. A memorial service will be held on Saturday January 15, 2011 at the Redlands United Methodist Church at 1:00 p.m., with viewing at Callahan-Edfast Mortuary on Saturday, January 15, from 9 - 10:30 a.m. Memorial contributions may be made to Hospice & Palliative Care of Western Colorado, 3090B N. 12 St., Grand Junction 81506 or School of Nursing, Louisiana State University Medical Center, 1900 Gravier St., New Orleans, LA 70112 (http://nursing.lsuhsc.edu).
Published in The Daily Sentinel on Jan. 15, 2011
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