Cover photo for David Dunn's Obituary
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1935 David 2024

David Dunn

May 15, 1935 — January 11, 2024

David J. (Dave) Dunn, age 88, passed away on Thursday, January 11, 2024, with his wife and daughter at his side. David was born in Huron, South Dakota, to William M. Dunn and Helene (Webster) Dunn. The family moved frequently before settling in Yankton, S.D., where Dave graduated from high school in 1953. He attended Yankton College for one year before enlisting in the United States Army. He served stateside and in Japan as a photographer.

Upon his return, he attended the University of South Dakota in Vermilion. On August 20, 1958, David married Sonja T. Sather, of Yankton, S.D. David graduated with a bachelor's degree in social studies and education in 1960. He then earned a master's degree in government and history.

While meeting his educational goals, his first and second children were born: Robert David and Marla Lee. David taught junior high school in Sioux Falls, S.D., and high school in Rochester, Minnesota. In 1964, he became director of the Olmsted County History Center. The family was completed by the birth of Meridith Ann. In 1967, Dave was hired by IBM in the education department where he did management training, advancing through several levels of responsibility until retiring in 1990.

Dave served St. Mary's University as an adjunct professor and as administrator of Rochester Campus. He also ran a management training consulting business. He always enjoyed public speaking and consulting. He loved researching topics and presenting to a group. He was a born educator.

Dave joined The Arc in 1961. With an abiding passion he served as an advocate for people with developmental disabilities any way he could. He held positions at the local, state, and national levels. Attending the White House celebration of the signing of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) was a highlight in his volunteer life.

Dave belonged to Zumbro Lutheran Church where he enjoyed Men's Group, Bible Study, teaching Sunday School, and serving as a Care Minister. Dave served on the Rochester School Board from 1967-1974. Volunteering at Mayo Clinic, most especially in the Historical Suite of the Plummer Building, was a pure delight for Dave. Known for his Ole and Lena jokes, he enjoyed bringing a smile to those around him.

Dave was preceded in death by his parents, three siblings, nephew, niece, and daughter, Marla. He is survived by his wife of 65 years, Sonja; his son, Robert (Jeanne); his daughter, Meridith; his grandchildren, Sonja (Sumner) Bradshaw, Patricia Dunn, Allison Rosnik, Stark (Stephen) Rosnik, William Dunn, Christian Dunn; and his great-grandchildren, Carly and Tristan Bradshaw. The family thanks the employees of Mayo Clinic, Stewartville Care Center, and Heartland Hospice for their good and kind care of David.

A Celebration of Life service will take place at Zumbro Lutheran Church (624 3rd Street SW, Rochester, MN) on Friday, January 19, at 11 am with visitation one hour prior at 10 am. In lieu of flowers, please consider donations to Zumbro Lutheran Church or the Southeast Region of The Arc Minnesota.

Ranfranz and Vine Funeral Home is honored to be serving the Dunn family. To share a special memory or condolence, please visit

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Friday, January 19, 2024

10:00 - 11:00 am (Central time)

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Memorial Service

Friday, January 19, 2024

11:00am - 12:00 pm (Central time)

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