Floyd Dunn

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Floyd Dunn Tucson, AZ - Floyd Dunn, a ground breaking pioneer in the science of ultrasound and bioacoustics, died on January 24, 2015. A veteran of the WWII Battle of the Ardennes, he was 90 years old. His death comes 30 days after that of his wife, Elsa. Floyd attended the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign in the Department of Electrical & Computer Engineering, earning three degrees, including his PhD in 1956. He remained at the U of I for 50 years and retired in 1995. In an era that often shuns basic research, Floyd shepherded, almost single handedly at times, a discipline that made way for the safe, commercial development of a stunning array of today's ubiquitous devices. These include ultrasonic imaging for prenatal sonograms, the ultrasonic microscope, and numerous measurement tools. For more than twenty years, Floyd directed the U of I's Bioacoustics Research Laboratory. From a converted, 19th century power plant deep inside the engineering campus, he mentored generations of students some of whom preceded him into retirement. A member of both the National Academy of Sciences and the National Academy of Engineering, Floyd Dunn was also the past President of the Acoustical Society of America. He was a recipient of the IEEE Edison Medal, the ASA Silver and Gold Medals. He served on several FDA and NIH committees and was a member of Committee 66 of the National Council on Radiation Protection. In retirement he continued to contribute to the work of his colleagues, and he carried an appointment at the University of Arizona-Tucson. He edited scientific articles and, until 2013, consulted with private companies interested in using ultrasound. Floyd Dunn, (he had no middle name), was born in Kansas City, MO in 1924. He was the son of Russian immigrants, whose home village would today be in Ukraine but had also at various times been part of Poland. He was a true child of the Great Depression. His father, a watch maker, pieced together a living but only just. Floyd and his younger brother, Marvin, shared a second floor, enclosed porch with a decidedly thin down comforter against the harsh Missouri winters. Floyd was introduced to Elsa shortly after his service in WWII, and they were married for more than 64 years. Elsa Dunn died on December 26th, 2014. Floyd and Elsa shared an interest in travel, and for half a century, she was his frequent travel partner, accompanying him to meetings beginning with his return to Europe in 1965. While on a business trip, just 19 years after the end of WWII, he renewed wartime acquaintances with friends who'd supported the Allies as members of the Belgian Resistance. Floyd was an avid reader and scholar of the works of James Joyce. Over the course of many years, he amassed a collection of his works, including a rare photo reproduction of Joyce's handwritten manuscript of "Ulysses". Floyd and Elsa were 'early adopters' who, as the first 'class' of Splendido members, selected their residence before construction was completed. Floyd Dunn is survived by his daughter, Andi Dunn; his son, Roo Dunn and five grandchildren. Among his grandchildren and extended family are a nurse in the US Army and grandnephew in Special Forces. The family appreciates the longtime friendship and counsel of Dr. Amit Fadia. Floyd received outstanding care in the last few weeks from Right at Home-Tucson and the support of Casa de la Luz hospice. Asked recently what helped make his career successful, Floyd said without hesitation, "We came home from the war tired, scared and without a penny to our names. I would not be here today, and I would not have achieved all of this, if there had not been the GI Bill." As a member of the Willed Body Program at the University of Arizona - College of Medicine, Floyd will continue to inspire a new generation of science pioneers, as was he, nearly seven decades ago. The family plans a celebration at a later date. Donations are encouraged to in Floyd's memory to the Community Food Bank of Southern Arizona at www.communityfoodbank.com/donate or by calling 520-622-0525.

Published in the Arizona Daily Star on Feb. 1, 2015
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