Lynne Plambeck | Remembering Ed Dunn

Letters to the Editor
Letters to the Editor

It’s strange how life works. You never really know when it is your time. First a friend is there, then the next day he is not. Ed Dunn just kept moving along as though he were in his 50s, fixing things around the house, working on clocks, so I think I expected that he would always be around — an assumption one should never make. Anyway, I think that is the secret of living a long and happy life. 

My friend Ed Dunn left this world unexpectedly last week. He was 92, and it was a life well lived, so I want to share my farewell with all my friends.  

I have known Ed and Joan Dunn since I met them in the late 1980s when we were both working on city issues. In spite of some differing political views, we became fast friends. I respected Ed for his honesty, perseverance and mechanical ability. We celebrated birthdays together. They both attended my son’s funeral services.  

After his Air Force service, Ed worked at Edwards Air Force base and aerospace firms as an engineer by trade on altimeters and other aerospace instruments. He won an award for a temperature measuring system he invented. He also worked on the lunar lander and was very proud to have helped put a man on the moon.  

Ed loved all things mechanical, and like my own father, had a penchant for fixing clocks. He fixed many that I inherited after my father’s death, as well as repairing many for friends and neighbors. He could bring the chimes back and get these old clocks to run on the proper time again. Visiting him, you were likely to find some interesting timepiece dismantled like a jigsaw puzzle on the dining room table waiting for the right piece to be placed to finish it. And in fact, just such a work in progress was there when he passed, which his son Eddie has promised to complete. 

Ed and I both ran for Newhall County Water District in 1993, mainly over concerns about the huge Elsmere Canyon landfill proposed for the headwaters of our ground water supply and proceeding without objection from the then-current board. But he was the one who discovered it was a public board that had not held elections in many years. This was because no one had filed to run against the incumbents. It seemed that residents had forgotten it was a public agency.  

Ed served on both Newhall County Water District including three years as board president, and on the Castaic Lake Water Agency board. I served with him on the Newhall Water board. He fought hard against the merger into the Santa Clarita Valley Water Agency of our efficient local water agency, the first in the valley, and in my opinion, the water agency that did the most to protect its rate payers and water users. 

Ed’s family and many friends, myself included, knew him for his wry sense of humor, raucous jokes, his ability to fix any clock they might bring him and his interest in water. Many also know about his love for canning apricots and peaches, making applesauce ­ — it had to be made from Gravenstein apples, his favorite ­— and coleslaw, and taking trips to Lombardi’s vegetable stand because that was the only place to buy tomatoes that tasted like real tomatoes should. He would call to tell me when the tomatoes were available and that I should hurry there before they were gone. 

So, in his memory, I urge you to raise a glass of water and make a toast to Ed Dunn, for his service to our country, for his service to our community, for keeping us constantly laughing with his never-ending jokes, for fixing all those lovely old clocks, and for that delicious coleslaw. It was a life well lived and we will all miss him very much. 

Lynne Plambeck


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