Averill Park-James Dunn passed away peacefully on April 30, 2020. He is survived by his wife of 49 years, Nancy Berry Smyth Dunn, and children and stepchildren, Marsha Dunn Klein, Brian Dunn, David Dunn, Sheldon Dunn Sr, Michael Smyth, Brenda Smyth Nelson and Susan Smyth Tocher and grandchildren Jason and Brennan Klein, Sam Nelson, Robert Tocher, Robert Dunn, Sheldon Dunn Jr, Christopher Dunn and Princess Dunn. He was predeceased by his daughter, Carolyn Dunn.
Jim had a full life. He was born on October 18, 1921 in Sacramento, California to Walter R. and Frances G. Dunn. He grew up in Burlingame, California and graduated from Burlingame High School 1n 1939. Jim received his Bachelor’s degree from the University of California at Berkeley and, after serving in the U.S. Navy during World War II, returned to Berkeley and obtained his PhD in geology. During World War II, Jim saw action at the invasions of the Marianas and Philippines (Leyte Gulf).
Jim moved to the Capital District in 1950 and was employed as a Professor of Geology at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute. In 1960 he founded James R. Dunn and Associates (later called Dunn Geoscience Corporation and then Dunn Corporation) and served as President and then Chairman of the corporation. Jim was a pioneer in the field of geology. He wrote over 100 technical publications and a book entitled, Conservative Environmentalism. He was the recipient of numerous industry honors and awards and has served on over 24 industry committees. As an expert in his field, he spoke before congressional committees as a technical expert on minerals including the House Committee on Interior and Insular Affairs (Subcommittee on Mines and Mining), the Senate Committee on Interior and Insular Affairs (Subcommittee on Minerals, Materials and Fuels), and the U.S. House of Representatives Hearings before the Subcommittee on Commerce, Transportation and Tourism of the Energy and Commerce Committee.
Jim was an active man. In high school, he was a track star. He broke state records in the 440 and 880 yard dashes and continued to be competitive in track in college. He loved to beat his opponents in tennis until he was 78 and then took up golf. He was an avid hiker, camper and backpacker, water skier, boatsman, bowler, and even got his pilot’s license at 59. He loved to beat everyone at the table in chess and poker.
Though Jim loved his home on Glass Lake, he and Nancy also enjoyed the adventures of travel. He appreciated great food, shared meals and his scotch on the rocks. He barbequed until he was 98! He loved to tell stories, recite poetry and could be counted on for a good laugh.
Jim was an inspiration to his family. He was loved by family and friends and will be greatly missed. A Celebration of Jim’s Life will be held at a later date.
In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to the Sand Lake Veterans Memorial Park at 171 Biittig Road, Averill Park, New York 12018.
Visit www.perrykomdat.com for a private guest book.