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Published: Thursday, 4/14/2005

Active woman, 97, owned Oregon car dealership

Alice A. Dunn, former vice president and principal stockholder in the Dunn Chevrolet-Oldsmobile-Buick car dealership, died of congestive heart failure Tuesday in the Lutheran Home at Toledo. She was 97.

Family described Mrs. Dunn, who lived in Curtice, as friendly, family-loving, and independent. When her husband, Clifford, died in 1970, she ran the family car dealership, now in Oregon, for the next 30 years.

"She drove until she was 90, and she lived alone until she was 96," her son, Jim, said. "When she retired, she was still our best typist. She opened the mail, and that's how she kept up with things."

Mr. Dunn said his mother didn't mind asking questions once the letters were opened, making sure the business ran smoothly and jobs were done. He said she was proud that four grandchildren, the fourth generation, were working at the dealership.

Mrs. Dunn was born in 1907 in Clay Center. Mr. Dunn said his parents were married shortly after high school. He said his father was involved in the auto dealership, started by his father.

He said Mrs. Dunn attended business school for a short time and worked as a secretary for Interlake Iron in the 1930s.

"Dad was very boisterous, and Mom liked to do things behind the scenes," Mr. Dunn said.

The couple shared a love for horses and traveled the country showing them at horse shows during the summer. The couple owned a stable where they bred horses as well, Mr. Dunn said.

"That's how the business was started," Mr. Dunn said. "[My grandfather] had a livery stable before he had the dealership. My dad had been around horses since he was 6. Mom and Dad both fell in love with them. There was a time where we had 16 to 18 horses."

Mrs. Dunn rode and showed American Saddlebreds and won awards for her riding.

Mr. Dunn said his mother was an avid sports fan and enjoyed watching her grandchildren's sporting events.

He said her longevity could be credited, in part, to her disposition and genes. "She was an easy-going person," Mr. Dunn said. "I never saw her get verbally upset with anyone. She used to tell me [when I get upset] to 'just smile at them. It drives them nuts.'‚óŹ"

Also, she had a sister who lived to be 101 and another to 92.

Surviving are her sons, Tom and Jim Dunn; six grandchildren, and seven great-grandchildren.

Visitation will be from 2 to 9 p.m. tomorrow in the Eggleston Meinert Pavley Funeral Home Oregon Chapel. Funeral services will be at 11 a.m. Saturday in St. John Lutheran Church, Williston.

The family suggest tributes to St. John Lutheran Church or the Lutheran Home at Toledo.

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