TIFFIN — Msgr. Edward C. Dunn, a respected elder among priests of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Toledo, died Friday in his Mansfield, Ohio, home. He was 95.
The cause of death was believed to be heart-related, said Msgr. William Kubacki, diocesan vicar for priests.
"He was one of the pillars of the priesthood in the Diocese of Toledo," Monsignor Kubacki said.
Monsignor Dunn represented senior diocesan clerics in 2005 when the official portrait of the late Bishop James Hoffman was unveiled at Rosary Cathedral.
Though officially retired for 20 years, Monsignor Dunn celebrated Mass most Saturdays at the St. Francis Home in Tiffin and most Sundays — including last week — at St. Joseph Church in Tiffin.
"It seemed that gave him energy, to be able to do that," said the Rev. Joseph Szybka, pastor of St. Joseph. "People loved him here."
He wanted to be actively involved in the ministry, said Shirley Robison, his caregiver, whose family was close to Monsignor Dunn for more than 40 years.
"His life was service to people," she said. "He had that Vatican II mentality — servant leadership. You don't find that often. His goal was to help people get to heaven."
Father Szybka was a seminarian in 1979 when he spent time at St. Peter parish in Mansfield and met Monsignor Dunn — and saw the elder priest's approach as pastor.
"It was always remarkable to me: It seemed he always had time for people," Father Szybka said. "It was genuine. It's the way he was — a priest through and through."
He was born Dec. 10, 1916, in Tiffin to Ethel and John Dunn. He was a graduate of Tiffin Calvert High School and St. Joseph College, Rensselaer, Ind., and Assumption College, Windsor, Ontario.
He was a Basselin Scholar at the Theological College, part of Catholic University of America in Washington, from which he received a licentiate in sacred theology; a bachelor's degree in philosophy, and a master's degree in church history.
He had planned to marry and have children and work at Tiffin Machinery, as his father had, Ms. Robison said.
Yet in college, "he felt that call" to the priesthood, she said.
His youngest brother became a priest as well, the late Rev. Richard Dunn.
After he was ordained, he first served at St. Rose Church, Lima, Ohio. He was an associate pastor of Blessed Sacrament Church, Toledo, from 1948-52.
He was a former principal of Calvert High, an associate pastor of St. Joseph, Tiffin, and chaplain to the St. Francis Home and the Ursuline convent.
He was a former principal of St. Peter High School, Mansfield. Granted senior status, he was appointed to St. Mary Church, Clyde, Ohio, where he served until official retirement in 1992.
The school assignments were his favorites.
"He wanted [children] to know that God loved them and that they were important and they had an important mission in this world," Ms. Robison said. "That was his main focus: to tell people that God loves you no matter what."
In the 1960s, he was named a monsignor, a title of honor in the Catholic Church.
He was a former co-chairman and a former director of the United Fund Drive in Tiffin. He was on the diocesan school board; was former dean of the Mansfield Deanery, and for several years represented the bishop as episcopal vicar of the deanery.
"In his later years, even though he was getting slower, he was at every priests' gathering, whether a retreat or educational [event] or a priest's funeral or a meeting with the bishop," Monsignor Kubacki said. "He was definitely jovial. He loved to be around people, whether priests or lay people," he said. "People felt comfortable around him.
Ms. Robison added: "He was very hospitable. If you came to our door, be prepared to eat and drink with us."
Surviving is his brother, John L. Dunn.
Visitation is to be from 1-3 p.m. Monday in St. Peter Church, Mansfield. Visitation from 6-9 p.m. Monday at St. Joseph Church, Tiffin, will start with a prayer service. Funeral services are to be at 11 a.m. Tuesday in St. Joseph, where visitation is to begin at 9:30 a.m. Arrangements are by the Traunero Funeral Home, Tiffin.
Memorials are suggested to the Msgr. Edward Dunn Foundation in care of the St. Peter Parish Center, Mansfield, or to Calvert Catholic Schools in Tiffin.
Contact Mark Zaborney at: email@example.com or 419-724-6182.
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