Edward Dunn was athletic enough to have a shot at a career in professional sports, and instead chose to spend his life helping his Springfield clients navigate convoluted domestic disputes and personal injury cases in Clark County’s courts.
Dunn was so single-minded about sticking up for his clients, it sometimes led to good-natured jokes from his friends who were more skeptical of their innocence, said John Butz, a Springfield attorney who worked as Dunn’s partner for close to a decade. Whatever case Dunn was working on that day was the most important one he was handling, Butz said.
“He was one of those lawyers who never had a small case,” Butz said.
Dunn, 88, died on Nov. 1 at the Wooded Glen Health Campus in Springfield. He was one of the founding partners at Cole, Acton, Harmon and Dunn, one of Springfield’s better-known law firms.
His legal career played a significant role in his life. But Dunn’s family and co-workers also remember a man who liked to play piano to entertain his peers at work functions or to unwind at the end of the day with his family. Dunn also excelled at baseball and basketball, and had a chance at a professional baseball career after graduating from Wittenberg, said Joseph Dunn, his son.
Ed Dunn’s father was a professional baseball player for the Brooklyn Superbas, who eventually became the Brooklyn Dodgers. But Ed’s mother convinced him to pursue a law degree at Georgetown University instead. He was also a self-taught piano player, a competitive handball player and a golfer who was good enough to win the club championship at the Springfield Country Club.
He loved music as much as sports and sometimes took his children to jazz clubs in Columbus. He taught himself to play harmonica and got good enough to play songs on request from his friends.
“He was accomplished at everything he did,” Butz said.
Joseph Dunn was so proud of his father’s legal career he followed him into the profession and eventually moved his practice from Phoenix, Ariz. to Springfield so he could work with Ed. The legal profession is often specialized now, Joseph Dunn said. But Ed Dunn began his practice at a time when it was more common to work in a variety of legal fields.
His intellect allowed him to pick up cases ranging from personal injury to domestic disputes.
“You’d come in the door, and if he didn’t know how to do it, he’d figure out how to do it,” Joseph Dunn said.
Butz said he remembered working on a Saturday at the law office when he and Ed Dunn were the only attorneys in the building. Dunn joked about having to work despite being one of the most experienced attorneys at the firm, but it was clear he was having fun even working weekends.
“He was just happy to be up and doing his job,” Butz said. “It was fun to watch.”
A private burial is scheduled at Calvary Cemetery in Springfield. A memorial mass is scheduled at 11 a.m. Saturday, Dec. 1 at St. Teresa Church in Springfield.