This was written in 2001 by my brother David. It reflects upon the importance of teachers in our life. Specifically, one TEACHER, in our little two room school. I was thinking of Mr. Dunn, and the ‘little school’ we attended long ago today. This says it all, quite well. Thank you David!

When I graduated from college, in 1997, we moved back to Missouri. Mr. Dunn visited the day my diploma arrived, it was my honor to have him hand my college diploma to me. That meant more than any walk across a stage ever could have. He was only my teacher for a year and two weeks, but his interest, mentorship and encouragement lasted.

Mr. Dunn, I tried to call him Bill once, it didn’t work for either of us.

“To Be A Teacher Is To Touch The Future.” I read that, somewhere, on a bumper once. I know that Bill Dunn will reach forever. I met Mr.Dunn in the spring of 1960, before I started school in the fall of 1961. I’m sure I liked him from that first bus ride.

 I was luckier than most. I rode that bus most schooldays from 1961 to May of 1969, and was usually the first and last stop. My brothers and sisters rode that bus and they have their own memories, I remember stopping to help someone with a flat tire or giving a push to help someone mired in the mud, or a generous lift if your car was stalled.

 Lessons in courtesy and dignity along with news of the day and maybe a math review or a practice recitation of a poem or the preamble to the constitution. Just idle conversation and an occasional visit with Grandma for a cup of coffee or a beer.

Mr. Dunn wasn’t my first “teacher”, but I can say honestly and with out hesitation, say that he was the VERY BEST. He was the yard that all others were measured by.

 I have been through a lot of classrooms over the years, and have rarely come close to his equal. I treasure the lessons from all of them, but have told people before that I have never learned anything since the 8th grade. I have added a few details and fleshed out a few ideas; but as far as seeing a new concept, we had been given all of the tools early on. I know that when we got to high school most of the other students were trying to catch up to us.

Mr. Dunn was always fair. He wouldn’t abide a bully or a smart alec. The haves and the hungry were equal. Girls and boys had the same opportunities. Everyone was given a chance to excel. And through the whole thing Mr. Dunn was there guiding, encouraging, joking, and making the whole ordeal seem like the best time.

Mr. Dunn took pride in us, we were his kids as much as he was our teacher, each of us received that nod of assurance and consoling hand, for that softball homerun, or that good basketball shot, or finishing second, he could allow failure with dignity.

I know his chest would swell when we went on to other graduations and milestones. We had fun! playing softball, basketball or stinkbase. I remember helping with the work party that put in the playground equipment. When every able-bodied man, woman, and child from Grasshopper Rd to Logan Creek and down the Tram Road came, and dug footings, by hand, mixed and poured concrete, and worked, together, to make a good thing happen. That all started with Mr. Dunn.

I remember filling the door corner of the basement with cordwood for the furnace that Mrs. Farmer kept going while she prepared and served the most wonderful meals; We miss her too. Usually that was a task left for the older boys, but sometimes Mr. Dunn would pitch in too.

 Mr. Dunn was my classroom teacher for those last 4 years. After I moved on from 2-room Corridon Reynolds and went to high school , first for a year in Ellington, then three in Bunker, I had Mr. Dunn again from 1970-71-72.His lessons and guidance and example have served well for all of us; but his teaching went far beyond the classroom and began with that very first bus ride. the gifts he gave to us all of dignity, respect and self-confidence, it took me a while to get that last one unwrapped, look back, they all came from him, always encouraging us.

 Your best was always good enough, as long as it was your best. Inside four stone walls in rural Reynolds County Bill Dunn handed the world to kids that had only been to Salem. He opened minds in dirty sweaty faces and, with outdated books and maps and an old blackboard, he taught reading ,English, history, math, and science. He gave us art and music and literature and current history and government. He made us question values like bigotry, discrimination, and hate and challenged our ignorance; with respect and logic and kindness. I’ll save stories and memories to share in person.

 I feel fortunate to have had as much of Bill Dunn as I got. He was my teacher, he was part of my community, and my family, a second father in many ways, and he was my friend. Bill Dunn was the finest person I have ever known. I’d like to thank John for acting as a pallbearer, and representing the family at the service. We were all at your shoulder in spirit

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