Deacon Dunn was in first deacon class

A member of the first class of permanent deacons in the archdiocese, Deacon Donald Dunn died Dec. 18 in Omaha. He was 86.

A memorial service was held Jan. 8 at Immanuel Fontenelle Home, where he lived, and a funeral Mass will be held Jan. 18 at St. Margaret Mary Parish, also in Omaha, where he served in active ministry until 1996. Interment will be at Calvary Cemetery in Omaha at a later date.

His 1973 ordination, along with 15 others in his class, followed Vatican II’s push to re-establish the permanent diaconate, making the archdiocese the 16th diocese in the United States to ordain permanent deacons.

He was very active as a deacon when the late Msgr. Peter Dunne was pastor of St. Margaret Mary Parish, said Don Schinzel, a parishioner. “We both attended the 6:30 morning Mass, and Msgr. Dunne would always invite Don and I over for coffee afterwards, so I got to know Don very well and liked him very much. He would always tell you what he thought.”

“When he became deacon, he really took over the baptism preparation classes, and really enjoyed that,” Schinzel said. Deacon Dunn also assisted at Masses, and performed baptisms and other duties.

Deacon Dunn was married 59 years to Marie, until her death in 2013. The couple did not have children.

Working in a hospital system’s pathology department, Deacon Dunn assisted doctors, police and judges, often providing expert testimony in court cases. He also helped establish a separate drug court.

He rode horses with the North Hills Hunt in Omaha, which included pageantry, military traditions and fox hunting. He became one of the first in the area to earn his steward’s license from the then-American Horse Shows Association, and he officiated at many Midwest horse shows. And as chaplain of the North Hills Hunt, he performed many blessings of the hounds at opening ceremonies each fall.

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