WILLIAM ALEXANDER DUNN

CONCORD, N.H. – Bill (also known as Sandy) Dunn, a resident of the Harris Hill Center Nursing Home in Concord, passed away on December 27, 2020.

Bill was born in 1943 in Brooklyn, N.Y., to Mary Elisabeth Dunn and William Joseph Dunn. His parents were well into their 40s when he was born. They had desperately wanted a family and had all but lost hope that they could ever have a child so considered him their miracle baby. Bill’s mother called him Sandy after her baby brother and while most of the people that he knew during his working life knew him as Bill, later in life he adopted Sandy as his preferred name.

Sandy attended school at Immaculate Heart of Mary and Erasmus Hall in Brooklyn. He excelled at art, photography and drafting. He dropped out of school in his senior year and was persuaded by a young teacher to go to night school and graduate. He did so and was inspired to become a teacher himself.

Bill joined the Air Force in 1967 and was stationed at Whiteman Air Force base in Knob Noster, Mo., where he met Ann Martin, a student at Central Missouri State College in Warrensburg, Mo. They married in 1969. Bill completed his military service, spent a semester as a student at CMSU, and a year later they moved east to Connecticut where he continued his studies at Central Connecticut State University, graduating with a BS in Education in 1977.

With their infant son, Zachary, they moved to East Hardwick, where Bill became a technology education teacher working at Hazen Union High School. Their son Jacob was born three years later and for the next 16 years Bill’s dedicated teaching impacted the lives of several generations of students at Hazen Union.

As a teacher and mentor, Bill was passionate about teaching, volunteering, leading and engaging young people. Going beyond his classroom teaching, Bill created a student wood drying business for the community, established a darkroom and courses in photography, including projects that showcased historic photos of Hardwick and the generations of families that grew up there. He also worked with students to design and build a school greenhouse and helped design and build the playground at the Hardwick Elementary School. In honor of his storied career as a teacher, Bill became the first runner up for Teacher of the Year in Vermont, and when Vermont’s Teacher of the Year winner was unable to attend the Washington, D.C., celebration honoring all of the state winners, Bill was invited to represent Vermont, which he proudly did.

Bill continued his professional education at the University of Vermont, where he earned a master’s degree in education administration going on to become principal at Barton Graded School for the next three years. He served a stint at as a technology teacher at Harwood UHS before joining the staff at U-32 in 1997 as a technology education teacher until he retired from classroom teaching in 2005. Unable to leave his U-32 family, Bill returned to work as an occasional food service substitute, and a substitute custodian on the buildings and grounds crew until he became a full-time custodian in 2008. Bill continued with this until his second retirement from U-32 in 2019.

Bill also spent many summers working as a Camp-Ta-Kum-Ta volunteer, overseeing maintenance of the camp and making lasting friendships with the campers and staff. Bill treasured time at the camp and the inspiring lives of all there.

Bill/Sandy was devoted to his students throughout his teaching career, staying in touch with so many of them throughout the rest of his life. His passion for work and those that he loved was intense. His students remained devoted to him as well, staying in touch with Bill at his East Montpelier home, helping out whenever they could as his health became increasingly fragile. Sandy and his partner of five years, Mary Ann Drouin Murphy, spent happy years together, with Mary Ann being a constant source of support and companionship to the very end of his life.

His enduring love for Brooklyn, N.Y., and the Irish roots of his immigrant grandparents never faded. Although he lived in and loved Vermont for over 40 years, he never stopped considering his beloved Brooklyn as home. His sons, Zac (Brooklyn, N.Y.) and Jake (Golden, Col.) and grandchildren Hana and Xander were loved heart and soul by Bill. As an inspiration of love, caring and generosity, Bill/Sandy Dunn will be missed by all whose lives were touched by his commitment to all of them.

A celebration of Bill’s life will be planned once the pandemic allows the many friends, colleagues, students and family who loved him to gather together. Bill will have his own home going at Sacred Heart Cemetery in Brooklyn when travel is again permitted. For those wishing to remember Bill/Sandy with a gift, a donation to Camp Ta-Kum-Ta would be appreciated by his family.