Kenneth L. Dunn
Kenneth Lee Dunn 1931 – 2011 Kenneth Lee Dunn, eldest son of three sons, was born to John “Jack” Dunn and Julia Brown Dunn on May 17, 1931, in San Fernando, California. It was the middle of the depression; but he had an idyllic childhood. His parents, though not wealthy, owned a thriving business, the original Dunn’s Tires. Ken spent his summers running barefoot through his neighbor’s olive orchards or riding his horse in the foothills. On Saturdays, his grandfather Brown would take him to the Santa Monica Pier where the dollar his mother had given him would last all day long for the carnival rides. When he was old enough, he went to work for his dad in the tire shop doing retreads, waiting on customers and talking and talking to everyone, which became his way of life and served him well in his own shop. Life was pretty simple driving around in his ’36 Chevy with the wide whitewalls until he went to a horse club play day and a tall slim girl with a killer suntan and the bluest eyes he’d ever seen borrowed his quirt. She borrowed the quirt, but stole his heart. He was never the same. Her name was Ellen Smith and on June 6, 1954 he changed it to Ellen Dunn. Life was good. He continued working for his dad and in the next few years they had sons Roy Allen, Larry Michael, and, as Ken liked to say, “Daughter Karen Louise just wandered in on her own.” A change in the school system caused the family to move to Placerita Canyon where they built a house. Again, all was well; but, in 1970, Ken decided he needed to be on his own in business. He had been to Idaho on hunting trips and he liked the area. With few belongings, one horse, Mindy, and Karen’s two 4-H sheep; they made the move. They rented a house in Caldwell and bought a service station on Nampa Caldwell Boulevard, which became Dunn’s Tires. Soon they bought the house next door to the shop and since Californians were not that well thought of in Idaho, Ken just told people he moved over from Caldwell. As business warranted, he added to the shop and settled into the community. Roy had graduated, but Larry and Karen were in school at Vallivue High. Karen went back to 4-H raising sheep, but now added a horse named Fee. She joined the Lone Star Riders 4-H Club which was to become a big part of their lives for the next few years. Ken liked to say, “Anyone can sell tires, we sell service.” The word spread and soon he had customers from McDermott, Nevada to Challis and Stanley, Idaho. He supported all of the 4-H groups, often buying their market animals. Ken and Ellen got back to their roots buying horses and joined the American Quarter Horse Association and the Boise Valley Cutting Horse Association. There were so many good horses, but Ken’s young stallion, Snappy Doc, proved to be a natural at everything he did. Ellen was a consistent winner on her pretty little buckskin mare, Sweet Music Girl. With a successful business, many horse activities, and involvement in the kids’ lives; twenty years passed quickly and all of a sudden he received an offer on the business. Ken wasn’t really ready to retire, but in all those years, no one had ever walked in and wanted to buy him out. After much consideration, he decided to sell. Just as suddenly, soon after, Ellen was diagnosed with cancer. It gave him the opportunity to spend more time the next few years with her. Though she fought long and hard, Ellen succumbed to her illness on October 20, 1995. On May 17, 1997, Ken married Janet Gustafson. She and her husband Gary had been friends of Ken and Ellen’s. Their daughter Lisa was also a member of Karen’s 4-H club. Gary had preceded Ellen in death in 1994. In their wedding vows, Ken and Janet told the congregation that their marriage was a tribute to the people who had taught them to love and never wanted them to be alone. Ken and Jan continued to show horses and in 2001 they purchased their stallion, Rooster’s Reflection, at the Polo Ranch in Oklahoma. Rooster became Ken’s partner and the producer of beautiful and talented progeny. They were lucky enough to buy a Gracie Starlight mare, Follow My Star, who is in the process of creating her own dynasty. Until recently, because of good health and good fortune, they were able to do all the things they enjoyed. Ken just celebrated his 80th birthday and at least 79 of those years were lived to the maximum. Recent illness slowed him down, but didn’t diminish his spirit. No one loved life more than Ken Dunn. He loved his work, his wives (both of them), his children and his accomplishments. He reveled in his horses and cherished his friends. Ken was preceded in death by his parents and his wife Ellen. He is survived by his brothers, Earl (Dolores) Dunn and Ned (Babe) Dunn; his children Roy Dunn, Boise; Larry (Janice) Dunn, Eagle; and Karen (Rick) Badillo, Meridian; his wife Janet Dunn and her children Loren (Vicky) Gustafson, Moreno Valley, CA; Lisa (Perry) Evans, Nampa; eight grandchildren and three great grandchildren. Kenneth Lee Dunn, 80, of Caldwell, passed away on Sunday, August 14, 2011 at a Boise hospital. A Funeral Service to honor and celebrate his life will be held at 10:30 AM on Friday, August 19, 2011 at the Nampa First Church of the Nazarene, 601 16th Ave. So. – Burial will follow at the Hillcrest Memorial Gardens, Caldwell. Friends may call at the Alsip & Persons Funeral Chapel, 404 10th Ave. So. – Nampa – 466-3545 on Thursday from 2 – 5 PM. Memories and condolences may be sent to www.alsipfuneralchapel.com. The family suggests that memorial contributions be made to the Boise Valley Cutting Horse Association, 3923 Bennington St., Caldwell, ID 83607 for the Kenneth Dunn Memorial Fund.