CRYSTAL FALLS – James Dunn, 65, of Crystal Falls, died peacefully in his house the morning of Monday, Dec. 2, 2013, after a weekend visiting with family. His youngest daughter, Tanya, preceded her father in death, as did his mother and father.
Jim was born in Pontiac to Fred and Ellen Dunn, the second oldest of four siblings: Dan Dunn, Jerry Dunn, and Sandra (Dunn) Pugh.
Growing up, Sandra says Jim was one of her idols and she remembers him as an avid reader. Jerry remembers his jokes and the good times they had on the subdivision paper route they shared as kids.
A cherished family member as well as a forester, writer, seasoned traveler, and Vietnam veteran, Jim loved being outdoors and exploring the land. This love likely began as a Boy Scout when he and his older brother Dan went on canoeing and camping trips with their Boy Scout Troop on Michigan’s Au Sable River in the 1950s.
Able to find his way out of the deepest woods, Jim’s life was full of interesting stories of his time in the forest, including one incident when he was working in the woods and a bear cub ran up to him, sniffed at his legs, then high-tailed it back to where his mother was presumably waiting.
Jim’s love for the outdoors was also evident in his travels and writings. His love of travel took him from Alaska to Brazil and various places in between including Puerto Rico and Mexico. Numerous published essays and short stories featured topics drawn from real life adventures in the Northwoods and included two published novels, “Warrior Moon” and “Birdseye Country.”
These novels also included his perspective as a Vietnam veteran. Jim joined the Air Force after graduating from high school and was stationed in the Kenai Peninsula of Alaska before being stationed in Alpena, where he met Linda (Holsworth) Cree, a young lady from the neighboring countryside who would become his wife in 1970, after he returned from volunteering for a tour in Vietnam.
Both loving the woods, Jim and Linda raised their two daughters, Aimee (born in 1975) and Tanya (born in 1978), in the Northwoods until their divorce in 1990 after 19 years of marriage.
Career-wise, after having earned a bachelor of science degree in forestry from Michigan Technological University in 1974, Jim went to work for Kimberly Clark, Mead and eventually as a forester for Champion International (now International Paper), where he worked for more than 20 years before retiring to run his own private business, Dunn Forestry Services. Jim was also involved with Tree Farm throughout his career, serving as state chair in recent years.
In the last several years, Jim was contending with Parkinson’s disease caused by exposure to Agent Orange in Vietnam. Throughout the duration, Jim remained as active as possible, including going on outings with his young grandson, Forest Cree, teaching him to fish, fly a kite, and even planning a day’s bike trip around Grand Island.
A consistent volunteer for local charities and events, Jim thought highly of his many friends in the community and beyond. He liked making his regular social rounds, going to “Old Timers’ Camp,” and simply enjoying the company of friends and family.
Visitation will be Thursday from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m. at the Jacobs-Plowe Funeral Home in Crystal Falls. The East Side Veterans Council will offer a pass and review Thursday at 3:45 p.m. at the funeral home.
The celebration of life service will be held Thursday at 4 p.m. at the funeral home. Rev. Nate Reed will officiate.
Burial will be in Evergreen Memorial Cemetery in the spring.
You may light a candle in remembrance of Jim, or leave a condolence for his family online at www.jacobsfuneralhomes.com.
The family has chosen the Jacobs-Plowe Funeral Home of Crystal Falls to honor Jim’s legacy of life.