Bay Ridge activist and American hero Howard Dunn has died. He was 88.
Dunn is survived by his wife of 68 years, Mae, as well as his daughter Gerri Martinez, four grandchildren and three great-grandchildren. He was known throughout southwest Brooklyn for his numerous efforts on behalf of veterans and the Boy Scouts, which he became involved with in 1939.
A veteran of World War II, who served in the Navy, Dunn was a major force in the effort to keep alive the Bay Ridge Memorial Day Parade when its future was in doubt, and also made it his personal mission to make sure that businesses along both Third and Fifth Avenue in Bay Ridge had American flags waving proudly outside.
On another front, in recent years, he put his heart and soul into helping Wounded Warriors. Dunn was introduced to the Wounded Warrior Project through his involvement with the Boy Scouts of America, and helped raise more than $28,000 between 2009 and 2012, as well as working with Walter Reed Hospital on numerous clothing drives and volunteering his time conducting tours of New York City for soldiers and their families who come into the NY and NJ areas.
Fittingly, Dunn — a past county commander of the American Legion — was tapped in 2015 to lead the Brooklyn Memorial Day Parade through the streets of Bay Ridge. “The guy has been a stalwart of the community,” said the parade’s Executive Director Raymond Aalbue at the time. “He’s a World War II vet – everyone knows who he is. He’s fully deserving of getting the recognition that a grand marshal gets.”
“Howie Dunn was a good and gentle friend and was the epitome of someone dedicated to his country and his community,” noted City Councilmember Vincent Gentile. “Howie was always looking for ways to reach out to others and all his activities through the veterans groups and community groups made a lasting mark on us all. There will never be another one like Howie so we are all blessed to have known him and worked with him.”
Local activist Ted General concurred. “He was one of a kind,” General noted as he reminisced about Dunn’s ceaseless activities on behalf of others. “You couldn’t find a bigger booster of veterans. I look on this as a great loss, given his caliber and dedication.”
General — who attended the wake — noted that, symbolic of all his efforts, Dunn had been “laid out in his Scoutmaster uniform,” with his American Legion caps resting on the casket.”
Dunn’s funeral is scheduled for 9:45 a.m. on Tuesday, at St. Anselm’s Roman Catholic Church, Fourth Avenue and 82nd Street. Visitation is taking place at Clavin Funeral Home, 7722 Fourth Avenue, from 2 to 4 p.m., and 7 to 9 p.m., Sunday and Monday.