John James "Jim" Dunne
1924 - 2021
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John James "Jim" Dunne
11/30/1924 - 01/06/2021
Educator, journalist, marathoner, and elected official, John "Jim" Dunne died Jan. 6 from natural causes at the age of 96. Born in New York City in 1924, he was the son of immigrant parents Eva Constance Rutledge and John James Dunne. He attended Catholic parochial schools, graduating from Power Memorial Academy in New York City. Enlisting in the Army at 17, Jim volunteered for the 10th Mountain Division as a skiing infantryman, fighting German troops in the North Italian Alps during World War II. After V-E Day, he retrained and joined the Ninth Amphibian Task Force in the North Pacific, participating in the assault of the Japanese-held island of Kiska. While stationed in Japan at the end of the war, he helped report sports and news for the Armed Forces Radio Network, an experience that influenced his subsequent decision to pursue a career in broadcasting. Honorably discharged in 1945, he studied at Compton (CA) Junior College, earned a bachelor of science degree in history from the University of Southern California in 1951, and a master of science in media education from Chico State University in 1966.
Jim taught history and government in the Compton, Paradise, and Redding, CA public schools, and then began reporting news for Chico and Redding radio stations, and the San Jose Mercury News. He served as news anchor for the San Jose ABC-TV affiliate. On occasion he worked in the broadcast press pool covering presidential candidates Dwight Eisenhower, Adlai Stevenson, John F. Kennedy, Richard Nixon, Barry Goldwater, and Lyndon Johnson. The California Associated Press awarded Jim a first-place award for his broadcast documentary, "They're People Too," about the neglect and warehousing of mentally ill patients. Perhaps his favorite documentary piece was about a local sheriff who refused an order to shoot wild horses running loose near a California highway, and instead found a way to protect both the horses and the driving public. From 1963 to 1966 Jim taught broadcast journalism classes at San Jose State University and coached campus media students. One of his student-crews earned an award at the Cannes Film festival for its film on skydiving as an emerging sport. From 1966 to 1977 he served on the journalism faculty at Washington State University in the dual roles of assistant professor of journalism, and director of WSU news and sports events. He authored the book, "Gerry Lindgren," about the WSU athlete who won 11 NCAA Championships in 5,000- and 10,000-meter events. A dedicated amateur long-distance runner himself, Jim trained for and competed in 12 marathons, with a personal-best time of time 2:55 for the 26.2-mile distance. Active in Pullman, WA politics, he was elected to three terms on the city council, and one term as Pullman mayor. Beginning in 1977 he chaired the Lane Community College Media Arts Department, taught courses in mass communication and public relations, and served as general manager of public radio station, KLCC. After retiring in 1990, he taught classes in media law at the University of Oregon, and history at Marist High School.
Throughout his life Jim read and studied history, poetry, ethics, constitutional law, film, economics, athletics, leadership, geopolitics, and the life of writing.
He is survived by his daughter Dr. Barbara Dunne of Holyoke, MA, and his brother and sister-in-law Paul and Wendy Dunne of Sacramento. Friends will gather this summer to celebrate Jim's full, rich, and eventful life. Memorial contributions can be made in his name to Lane Community College Foundation, 4000 E. 30th Ave., Eugene OR 97405.
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Published in Eugene Register-Guard from Jan. 11 to Jan. 12, 2021.
No memorial events are currently scheduled. To offer your sympathy during this difficult time, you can now have memorial trees planted in a National Forest in memory of your loved one.
Memories & Condolences
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5 entries
January 17, 2021
Mr. Dunne was my poli-sci teacher my senior year at Marist (94-95).

He led an incredible life, as the above tribute makes clear, but he didn't announce that on the first day of class, or the second. Instead, throughout the year, we'd be talking about something and he'd have a relevant story in which he'd happen to mention his service in the war, or being mayor of Pullman, or serving in the media -- all of it like it was no big deal. Fittingly, it was the year of Forrest Gump, and indeed it felt like Mr. Dunne had been everywhere, done everything.

He was thoughtful, sweet, and captivating. And as the year went on, it became increasingly special to know that the following year I'd be going to WSU to major in communications/journalism.

"On time is late." Indeed, John Boril, he was still saying that to us at Marist in '95. Another common reminder was that "the medium is the message." He also was fond of saying is that everyone deserved a chance at the plate. If we strikeout, OK, but at least we had the chance.

Another thing I remember him telling us more than once is that whenever he would run into Rep. Peter DeFazio -- and he really meant "run," as it would typically happen on a jogging trail -- he'd tell him, "Peter, I don't agree with you all the time, but I keep voting for you because I believe you are always trying to do the right thing."

I've thought of the spirit of those words a lot over the past 25-plus years, and Mr. Dunne himself. He left an impression.

I'm grateful to have known him. My heart goes out to his family.

Jason Bellamy
Jason Bellamy
January 12, 2021
"On time is late!" - Jim Dunne
Words that served us all well.

John Boril
WSU '77
January 12, 2021
Jim was my 6th Grade teacher at Lincoln School in Compton, CA in 1952-53 and was the best teacher I ever had. We reconnected about 10 years ago and developed a friendship that included frequent emails discussing the state of the world as well as occasional personal visits (I am in California). He has had a major impact on my life and I will miss him. Good rest his soul.
Douglas Walker
January 12, 2021
I had Dr, Dunne at Marist. He was one of the sweetest men I've ever met. I loved listening to his personal experiences with "modern" history. It really made things real for me.
January 12, 2021
I had Mr. Dunne at Marist. He was one of the sweetest men I've ever met. I loved listening to his first hand experiences of "modern" history. May you Rest in Peace.
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