William Dunn, 78
By Staten Island Advance on February 28, 2013 at 7:40 AM, updated February 28, 2013 at 8:03 AM
William Dunn, 78 William Dunn Staten Island Advance
STATEN ISLAND, N.Y. -- William C. Dunn, 78, of Oakwood, a retired city firefighter who was instrumental in creating and molding the athletic program at St. Charles Parish, died Wednesday at home.
Born in Cambridge, Mass., Mr. Dunn was brought to Oakwood in 1944.
He worked for 31 years with the FDNY, beginning his career assigned for one year to Ladder Co. 101, Brooklyn, then spending 15 years at Ladder 11 on the Lower East Side. Mr. Dunn was promoted to lieutenant in 1973 and spent 18 years at Ladder Co. 114 in Brooklyn, before retiring in 1991.
STARTED WITH NYPD
Prior to his time with the Fire Department, Mr. Dunn worked for three years with the NYPD, serving at a precinct in Harlem. He also was employed for a year at the Bethlehem Steel Shipyard.
Mr. Dunn served as a petty officer first class in the U.S. Navy during the Korean War from 1952 to 1956.
He was a graduate of New Dorp High School, where he played football and basketball.
Mr. Dunn was actively involved in Staten Island sports, shaping the lives of many young athletes within the borough. Mr. Dunn put in many years of service to the Staten Island Pee Wee Football League, Staten Island Little League, the Amateur Softball Association League, St. Peter's Boys High School, St. Joseph by-the-Sea High School and Staten Island Touch Tackle Football League.
Mr. Dunn's involvement went beyond coaching to encompass tasks such as cleaning the gym or chaperoning team trips.
Closest to his heart, however, was the St. Charles Parish athletic program in Oakwood, which he helped shape from its inception. He served for 20 years with the program. He started out first as a coach and later as a gym scheduler. He also maintained the building and was known for watching over and molding the young athletes in his charge. Mr. Dunn enjoyed watching their successes both on and off the playing field.
In 1984, Mr. Dunn was given the Jaques Achievement Award for his 20-plus years of service to Island youth. During the same program, his son, Michael, received that year's Jaques Memorial Award as the Island's outstanding schoolboy basketball player.
"The man has done so much for so many and has never asked for anything in return. He is a true Staten Islander who cares about Staten Island sports and he always finds time for others," said Joe Panepinto, CYO County Director, in an April 23, 1984, announcement of the honor.
Mr. Dunn was also known for creating the CYO's one-division baseball program; before that, the program was divided into North and South shores.
Because of Mr. Dunn's efforts and his focus on character rather than wins or losses, St. Charles Parish has produced many individual standouts as well as team standouts over the years.
The aforementioned Advance article attributes that to Mr. Dunn's quiet and persistent welfare for building character in his athletes: "Before each St. Charles team enters its gymnasium, it must pass a handwritten inscription tacked on the locker room wall. In short, it tells the players of the effort put forth by the people before them, how they knocked down rocks for them and that when they go out on that floor, they are representing St. Charles.
"No one ever asked who wrote it. They know."
Mr. Dunn was also a parishioner of St. Charles R.C. Church.
After his retirement, he taught the AARP Defensive Driving class for over 10 years, serving as the state coordinator of the Staten Island AARP driver safety program. He also served the needy by delivering Meals on Wheels.
In his later years, Mr. Dunn loved following his grandchildren from game to game in various sporting programs and was always there to support them in every aspect of their lives.
According to family, some of the fondest memories of Mr. Dunn were the many shows he starred in at St. Charles Annual Parish Show, under the direction of Dorothy Shroeder.
"Dad had a special way of handling any problem life threw at him. Through his example, his family will always cherish the many values he instilled in us and will always carry on his 'Irish' ways until we meet again," said his son, Michael Dunn, now the varsity basketball coach at Monsignor Farrell High School.
Along with his son Michael, also surviving are his wife of 55 years, the former Ann Leoni; a second son, William; two daughters, Karen Cretella and Doreen Otchet; two brothers, Joseph and Robert Dunn; his sister, Patricia Peer, and 10 grandchildren.
The funeral will be Saturday from the Colonial Funeral Home, New Dorp, with a mass at 10:15 a.m. in St. Charles Church, Oakwood. Burial will be in Moravian Cemetery, New Dorp.