Norman D. Dunn

Thursday, November 8, 2012 - 03:19

Former Eagle River resident Norman D. Dunn died Oct. 14, 2012, surrounded by his family in California. He was 77.

Mr. Dunn was born March 28, 1935, in National, Wash. His sister Ople remembers being in the room when he was born — just as she was when he passed away 77 years later.

Norm, called “Duke” by his family, was raised in Pullyup, Wash., the son of a logger. He was a U.S. Army veteran who served in Korea, working heavy equipment with the Army’s Second Armored Division. When he returned home he worked at his father’s new service station.

In the early 1960’s he moved south to the Los Angeles area, where he met and married Bernice Reeves and adopted her two children, Skip and Cathy. In March, 1964, Alaska called to Norm and Bernice. It was a difficult trip north, but Norm and his family of Californians crossed the Alaska border on March 26, 1964. The next day they were south of Big Lake when the earth shook from the Good Friday Earthquake.

Norm built two log homes and worked as a logger. Later, he commuted weekly from the family’s homestead on Burma Road to his job at the Anchorage Natural Gas Co. There he developed great skill in operating a backhoe. It was then that he referred to himself as a “hoe-er.”

He moved the family to Eagle River in 1968 after “proving up” on the homestead. Norm and Bernice left Alaska in 1975 and moved to Sequim, Wash., then Bremerton and Gig Harbor. They settled in Sunsites, Ariz., where the couple parted ways in the late 1990s.

Norm married Barbara Magnuson in 2001 in Phoenix, Ariz., where they were active in their church. They enjoyed square dancing and spending time with their many friends. The couple then moved to California.

Norm’s greatest joys were his grandchildren, Joe and Jessie, fishing, and riding motorcycles, which he did into his seventies. He also enjoyed working in his garden and yard.

He is survived by his wife, Barbara and her family; his son and daughter in-law, Skip and Darlene Dunn of Eagle River; and his grandchildren, Joe Dunn of Yakima, Wash., and Jessie Riviera of Anchorage; his sister, Ople Morman of Olympia, Wash.; and many nieces and nephews.

He was preceded in death by his parents, Jenny Dunn and Lester Dunn, and older brothers, Ernie and Bill.

At Norm’s request, his ashes will be spread at his favorite fishing hole on the Little Susitna River. In remembrance of Norm, all men are urged to have regular prostate screenings.

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