Dunn, Dr. Wesley J.

Dunn, Dr. Wesley J.

November 15th, 2020

On Sunday, November 15, 2020, Wesley J. Dunn, DDS, FACD, FRCD(C) (Hon.), FICD (Hon.), FADI (Hon), LL.D. departed this life following a brief illness. He died at his residence at age 96.

For more than sixty-two years Wes was the cherished husband of Jean who passed on in 2011. Wes and Jean built a wonderful life together, first in Toronto and then in London. Wes and Jean had three sons. Bruce (Marion Holgate) passed on in October 2020. Wes was extremely touched by the many tributes from Bruce’s students and others whose lives were made better by him. Wes is survived by sons Steven (Johanne Saucier) of Gatineau, Quebec; and Brian (Kathy Dunn) of London; grandchildren Geneviève Dunn (Arnaud Tremblay) and Jean-Michel Dunn of Gatineau; Sarah Dunn (Phill Maas) of Kamloops, B.C.; and Michael Dunn (Jessica Barré-Dunn) of London; baby great-grandson Théodore Wesley Tremblay, also of Gatineau; and special friend Helen St. Cyr. Wes is the son of the late John J. and Grace E. (Bryan) Dunn. The day before his death Wes spent time outdoors with his family laughing and reminiscing. He was adored by his family.

Wes was the founding Dean of the Faculty of Dentistry of The University of Western Ontario. He was a past Registrar and past President of the province’s dental profession’s governing body, the Royal College of Dental Surgeons of Ontario. He was a past Editor of Oral Health and the Journal of the Canadian Dental Association. Honorary memberships were conferred on him by the Canadian Dental Association, the Ontario Dental Association and the Toronto Academy of Dentistry. He was a member of and served a term as Chair of the then Thames Valley District Health Council and later was a member of the Board of Directors of the London Health Sciences Centre and the Board of Directors of the Children’s Health Foundation.

In June 2009, The University of Western Ontario conferred on him the honorary degree of Doctor of Laws.

In lieu of flowers, should a memorial be considered, recognition of the Wesley & Jean Dunn Fellowship in Dentistry at Western University would be sincerely appreciated and gratefully acknowledged. Memorial donations may be sent attention Annual & Leadership Giving, Western University, Suite 110, Westminster Hall, London, Ontario N6A 3K7 (cheques payable to Western University), by calling 519-661-4200 or online at www.westernconnect.ca/dunn.

Cremation has taken place. At Wes’s firm request, his farewell will be limited to a private family gathering when circumstances permit. 

Charitable donations may be made to:

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Book of Condolences

Lee PrenticeDean Dunn was “our” positive, supportive and ethical guide at “the” School at a “Camelot” time and place that our Class of ‘77 was so blessed to have experienced. Thank your Dean Dunn for “everything”. Lee Prentice D.D.S. ‘77
Cam LindseyDr. Dunn was the epitome of a true gentleman. He was eloquent yet personable , a man of utmost standards. Dr. Dunn was a wonderful example for all those who attended Western University dental school. He will be missed by many. Condolences to his whole family.
Michael RingelI recall the first time I met Dr. Dunn was when he congratulated and warmly welcomed my first year dental class into the faculty on our first day at UWO. Over the next 4 years he was an exemplary dean and mentor to all his students. It was our good fortune and privilege to have attended during his years as dean. Thank you Dr. Dunn for everything. My deepest condolences to your family. Michael Ringel D.D.S. '77
KellyI had the pleasure of getting to know Wes at his place of residence over the last few years. He was truly the kindest, warmest man who always had a smile and time for a chat with everyone. On sunny days he spent hours sitting in the sun, reading a book and chatting with passersby. He got such a kick out of it when I told him I took my son to the dentist and there was a plaque with Wes’ face and name on it in the office and that my son thought he must be famous. I am heartbroken for your loss, and for those who knew and loved him. Please know you are all in my thoughts and prayers. Kelly M.
Michael KnightDr Dunn was singularly the means by which I was accepted into Dentistry at Western. I never forgot the measure he set to provide the best quality dentistry to all of my patients. Over the years, we have remain connected and either through the ODA or buy email, he was always interested in my practice, my family and my love of Dentistry. During my years at Western and with our mutual love of sports, I can remember cold, cold nights playing for the powerful Dents hockey squad at the outdoor rink. Many evenings our only fan was none other than Dr. Dunn, cheering our team to numerous victories. As then and today, Dr. Wesley J. Dunn stands alone as a leader, an individual with strong support for all of his students and an ardent believer in the integrity of the Faculty of Dentistry at Western University. I will miss this wonderful gentleman. Mike Knight Dents '72
Harold GretzingerI first met Dean Dunn in the 70's at UWO in Thames Hall. He often exercised by running at lunch and served as starter for many swimming meets. Somehow sharing the same dressing room and showers removed many of the age and social barriers. He encouraged me to apply to dentistry and without his powerful influence, I would never have been accepted into UWO Dentistry or McGill Oral Surgery. He was at once personable, kind, understanding, erudite, forward thinking, strict, fair, supportive, and encouraging. He effortlessly oozed sophistication, diplomacy, elegance, wisdom, charm and class. Once graduated, I was encouraged to call him Wes, but somehow always felt more comfortable calling him Dean Dunn. He just seemed to deserve the more esteemed appellation. As founding dean, he turned the fledgling dental school into a world class institute of learning (certainly the finest in Canada). He had much to be proud of, but rose above any boasting because others did it for him and the facts spoke for themselves. As he would no doubt have said, "res ipsa loquitur". Almost certainly, Wes secretly enjoyed being a little pedantic, and on many occasions, it sent most of us scrambling for our dictionaries. He had the gift of turning a particular linguistic expression into a vivid word picture, which was simultaneously and strikingly clear, appropriate, and memorable. He had a way with words. Without doubt, he was a major influence in my life and profession: an advisor, teacher, mentor, counselor and eventually a friend. I am filled with sadness at his passing. I am not alone. A giant has physically left the stage but his soul continues to shine brightly. RIP Wes. I'll see you on the other side. We miss you. You have left your indelible imprint on more than a generation of UWO dental classes. That, is just one of your legacies. Your deeds continue to echo in the work of others and are thus multiplied. It is your posterity. A higher voice has called you home, for me, it seemed too soon. Harold Gretzinger UWO dentistry 1981.
Sandy LevinI have so many good memories of Wes (and of Bruce). Wes was a neighbour and one of my biggest fans when I ran for city council. I still have the e mail he wrote the day I announced I was not going to seek re-election. Wes was a sign repair crew member during my campaigns. Faithfully on his bike, he would check out and repair any damaged signs. He also urged me to be nice to my dentist and let her freeze my mouth while getting a filling replaced. A very special man is gone.
Tom DaleyWes had such a positive influence on the lives of so many, myself included. So capable, so competent, so wise and yet ever gracious and humble. We were privileged to have shared time with him. My sincere sympathy to his family for their loss, and the loss of Wes' son Bruce as well. It's been a very challenging year.
Sarah MutoI remember working on my first special event for the hospital and organizing all the VIPs to make sure they got to the front row for the speeches. Dr. Dunn was so down to earth, and made me feel better that I didn't know so many of the hospital acronyms everyone was using! He told me that he himself kept a running journal with all the definitions. His warmth and caring for someone brand new to the hospital will never be forgotten. I am so sorry for your loss. Sarah
Bob KlineDean Wesley Dunn was one of the first people I met when I arrived in the Dept. of Physiology in 1973, as young faculty member. A significant amount of faculty funding was available with the expansion of the Dental School, and I was fortunate to receive some start-up research funds from Wes. Being a Dean can be a challenging job, with many responsibilities, but Wes managed to navigate the many mine fields of academia, with calm and dignified management skills. From my perspective he was eminently qualified for the job, which was proven by his long tenure in that position and the amazing growth and accomplishments of the Faculty of Dentistry. Wes was a gentleman and a personable leader. I was fortunate to know him and be a small part of the team. From my perspective, his was a life well lived. I extend my sincere condolences to the family. Bob Kline Former Chair of Physiology
Bob TottenMy sincere condolences to the Dunn family. As a former human resource practitioner at Western University, I had the opportunity to work with Dr. Dunn in advising him on various human resource problems as they arose. It was indeed a pleasure working with him to develop and arrive at equitable solutions to personnel difficulties. I admired the kind, fair-minded way that he approached a situation, treating everyone in a calm and respectful manner. I especially enjoyed the clarity of thought that he brought to our discussions. Dr. Dunn was a credit to his profession and the university and a wonderful role model to others on how to approach and develop solutions that were fair and equitable. His sense of humour often helped to temper a tense situation and put people at ease while still maintaining the dignity of all concerned. I shall remember him well and give thanks for his life and the opportunity that I had to know him. Peace be with you.
Bernie WielgoszCondolences to the family. Many years ago we crossed paths as swimmers and lifeguards and UWO students and athletes. Many fine memories.
Lesley MounteerMy thoughts are with all of you. My father J. Stanley Hill was a good friend of Wes and both my parents thought very highly of him. He attended my Dad's service in Nov 2017 and I had a long chat with him. I remember Wes and Jean attending dinners with my folks and more recently they did Alumni Western trips to Stratford with Wes. He was an inspiring teacher and administrator and a good friend. He will be missed.
Olaf PlotzkeI recall after listening to Dean Dunn's (Wes , as he later told me to call him) first address ("welcoming") to our first year class in 1973 thinking....does anyone have a thesaurus? His eloquence, his dignity, his integrity, his passion, his moral standards, the likes of which will never be seen again, left an indelible mark on so many of us that had the privilege of attending the UWO Faculty of Dentistry. He made you want to excel and do and be your best. He was a lasting influence on the way I participated in our profession. My sincerest condolences to his family. RIP Wes... Olaf Plotzke DDS '77
Louise Gingras et Camille TremblayNous offrons nos plus sincères condoléances à Steven ainsi qu’à tous les membres de sa famille. Louise Gingras, Camille Tremblay et leurs enfants.
Keith & Maggie BrannenOur heartfelt condolences to Steve, Brian, and family. Such fond memories of Wes (of course, he was always Dr. Dunn to me) and all your family (and especially my good friend Bruce). From your long time Wychwood Park neighbour, Keith.
Sheila MarcouxStephen, Brian and family - we have lost a true gentleman with your dad's passing. He was the kindest soul, and always could make you laugh. Keeping you and your families in my thoughts during this difficult time.
Blake & Sandra NicolucciDean Wesley Dunn was our Dean at Western and we were very lucky. He was a true leader and a true gentleman. Our condolences to the Dunn family. We have all lost a remarkable individual. He had a full and rewarding life and will be missed. Our thoughts are with you during this difficult period.
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