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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