JESSE DUNN, 1935-2011

NOTE FROM THE PUBLISHER: Jesse Dunn was a true fan of all Howard County student-athletes, and particularly his beloved Kokomo Wildkats. He passed away Friday evening while listening to the Kokomo Wildkats battle Muncie Central on the radio. His smiling face and storytelling of past Wildkat glory will truly be missed. He had a heart of gold that – without a doubt – bled Red and Blue and the Lady Wildkat bench won’t be the same without him. Rest in peace, Jesse – it is nice knowing you will now watch over us from a much better place. Go Kats!

Jesse W. Dunn, 76, Kokomo, died at 8:54 p.m., Friday, Dec. 9, 2011, at Waterford Place Health Campus, while listening to a Kokomo-Muncie High School basketball game on the radio. He was born May 29, 1935, in Kokomo, the son of Jesse E. and Veneda (Ball) Dunn. On June 22, 1957, he married Norma J. Sparks at the Union Street Friends Church, and she survives.

Jesse was a 1953 graduate of Kokomo High School and worked for 41 years at Kokomo Gas & Fuel Co. He was the company’s General Supervisor of Construction when he retired in May of 1997. He enjoyed his work and loved the people with whom he worked. At his retirement, the Jesse W. Dunn Total Effort Scholarship for KHS seniors was established with the Community Foundation by friends and family.

He had a strong faith and all who knew him saw this lived out on a daily basis. He was a member of Oakbrook Community Church and participated in Huddle and The Great Banquet.

Jesse’s love for family and friends was followed only by his love of sports. He saw his first Kokomo High School basketball game at the age of 10 and was an avid fan ever after. He was seen as a fixture at most local sporting events. From 1966 through 1983, he only missed two events involving his two sons and daughter. According to many Kokomo fans, Jesse bled red and blue.

Jesse served as league vice president for Northside Little League in the middle 1960s. From 1967 through 1971, he coached and served as manager at UCT Little League for the Murray-Davis Aces. He was a volunteer assistant girls’ basketball coach at KHS for 15 years and until his death. He was part of the Lady Wildkats coaching staff when the team won the 2003 IHSAA Class 4A state championship with an undefeated record.

Surviving, in addition to his wife, Norma, are two sons, Michael J. Dunn (Ruth) of Kokomo, and Timothy A. Dunn (Abby) of Arvada, Col.; one daughter, Karen S Blackburn (Timothy) of Syracuse, Ind.; three grandchildren, Andrew Jones (Natalie), Kara Blackburn and Tanner Blackburn; one great-granddaughter, Carson Jones.

A Celebration of Life Service will be held at 7 p.m., Thursday, Dec. 15, 2011, at Kokomo’s famed Memorial Gymnasium, with Pastor Karl Stoneking officiating. In keeping with Jesse’s wishes, cremation will follow with private burial of the cremains. Friends may call from 3 p.m. to 8 p.m. on Wednesday, Dec. 14, at Shirley & Stout Funeral Home & Crematory, Lincoln Road Chapel.

Memorial contributions may be made to the Jesse W. Dunn Total Effort Scholarship Fund in care of the Community Foundation. Envelopes will be available at the service.

This entry was posted in Basketball, High School, IHSAA, Kokomo, Lady Kats, Wildkats. Bookmark the permalink.


  1. Anne Thatcher says:

    Such a special man! He was like a grandpa to all of us players and he truly cared about out well being on and off the court. I consider myself so blessed to have known Jesse! Coach Dunn you will forever live in our hearts! Thank you for all you have done for the Lady Kats and the city of kokomo! You will be greatly missed by so many!

  2. Jack Monroe jr says:

    If ever I seen a man who not only lived and loved sports but that love was shown even through Christ! Jesse was a man with whom young men could aspire to be like with a gentleness and love shown to all he came in contact with! This love is also shown in his children, what character and integrity! Jesse while you will be sadly missed, I know you in such a better place and getting to be in the presence of Jesus!!!

  3. Kevin Cox says:

    Jesse (Jay) was the best neighbor anyone could ask for! I have been a neighbor of the Dunn family for 39 years. I consider them my extended family more than neighbors. Jay was a special person who was always kind to kids in the neighborhood(and anywhere else he met them) and was truly the biggest sports fan I have ever met. You will be truly missed, but we’ll see you again someday! RIP until then.

  4. Aaron Miller says:

    Coach Dunn was such a special and caring individual. His long history of volunteer service to the Lady Kat program will sorely be missed. His compassion and enthusiasm for life was second to none. RIP Coach Dunn.

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