Lifestyle Obituaries

Former Hall High School Principal Has Died

Robert E. Dunn. Photo courtesy of Taylor & Modeen Funeral Home

Robert Dunn of West Hartford, who served as principal of Hall High School for 28 years and retired in 1990, passed away on July 18, 2017.

The following obituary has been reproduced with the permission of Taylor & Modeen Funeral Home.

Robert E. Dunn, 89, of West Hartford, CT, passed away peacefully at home on July 18, 2017, from complications associated with Parkinson’s disease and related dementia. Bob is survived by his beloved wife of 59 years, Gladys B. Dunn.

Bob was born in Newark, NJ, the son of George E. and Ruth B. Dunn, and was raised in Watertown, MA, and East Hartford, CT, graduating from East Hartford High School. He received a B.A. degree from Bates College in Lewiston, ME, where he met his wife. He continued his education at the University of Connecticut where he received his M.A. degree. Bob received a Rotary Ambassadorial scholarship enabling him to continue his studies at the University of Birmingham in England. During his time there, Bob led a European student group to the Rotary Youth Festival in South Africa. After returning to the U.S., Bob earned his Ph.D. degree at the University of Connecticut. Subsequent to his graduate studies, he also studied at Harvard University as an Alfred North Whitehead Fellow, at the University of Oregon as a John Hay Fellow, and at Kettering Foundation Institutes at Colorado College, Guilford College and the University of Colorado.

He served on the faculty of West Hartford’s William H. Hall High School for 38 years as history and social studies teacher, department head, guidance counselor, assistant principal, and school principal from 1962 until his retirement in 1990. During his tenure, he was chosen as Connecticut’s Principal of the Year. He taught graduate courses at Trinity College, the University of Connecticut and the University of Hartford.

After retirement, he was Deputy Headmaster of the Seoul International School in South Korea for five years, where Gladys was Director of Admissions. After their return from South Korea, Bob and Gladys enjoyed traveling, particularly world cruises and European river trips, along with winter vacations in Honolulu.

During his long career, Bob received many honors. He served as a trustee for Bates College, which presented him with a Distinguished Service Award and an Honorary Doctorate degree. With his wife, he represented Greater Hartford on a People to People Program in England. He served as national chairman of the High School Student Council Association. He served on a National Commission chaired by the U.S. Secretary of Education and was appointed by the U.S. Department of Education to help choose exemplary schools after Hall High School was awarded that honor. He participated in educational study missions and research work in Russia, Eastern Europe, Turkey, Taiwan and England. He and his wife traveled the world during summer breaks with particular interest in learning about international education systems.

Bob was devoted to his community. He was a recipient of the Noah Webster Award for service to West Hartford. He was a long-time member of the West Hartford Y.M.C.A. Committee and chaired the West Hartford School and Community Organization. He served on the Board of the American School for the Deaf and the committee for the inaugural Annual Celebrate West Hartford event. In deep appreciation for the Rotary Club scholarship he was awarded while a student, Bob was a 35-year member of the West Hartford Rotary Club, served on their Board of Directors, was a recipient of the Rotary Paul Harris award, sponsored a Rotary Club Foundation annual scholarship, and was inducted as a charter member of the Arch C. Klumph Society for his contributions to The Rotary Foundation.

Contributions in Dr. Dunn’s memory may be directed to the Robert E. Dunn Fund at the Hartford Foundation for Public Giving, 10 Columbus Boulevard, 8th Floor, Hartford, CT 06106. This fund assists deserving Hall High School students who have financial need and who qualify to participate in international and domestic educational experiences beyond high school.

Final arrangements are pending. Burial will be private. Taylor & Modeen Funeral Home, West Hartford has care of arrangements. For online condolences, please visit www.taylorandmodeen.com.

A Memorial Service for Robert E. Dunn, is planned for Monday, September 18, 2017 at 11 a.m. at the First Congregational Church, 12 South Main St. in West Hartford Center.

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1 Comment

  • Dr. Bob Dunn was absolutely a special person. He took an interest in me as a student-athlete at Conard H. S. and wanted me to attend his alma mater, Bates College.

    He will be missed and remembered by many because he touched the lives of many people.


    James A. Johnson aka Jimmy Johnson Conard H. S. 1960

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