Cover photo for James Clair Dunn's Obituary
James Clair Dunn Profile Photo
1937 James 2022

James Clair Dunn

July 20, 1937 — January 7, 2022

PORTVILLE – James Clair “Moe” Dunn, 84, of 32 Maple Ave., passed away after a lengthy illness on Friday, January 7, 2022. Born July 20, 1937, in Olean, N.Y., he was the son of Clair Joseph and Chloe Esther (Clayson) Dunn. Jim attended St. Mary’s Academy and Olean High School, and in 1955 he graduated from Ferndale High School in Washington state. He was a talented athlete, fielding the position of pitcher on Olean and Ferndale baseball teams. Jim served in the U.S. Army from November 1960 through November 1962, completing boot camp at Fort Dix, N.J., and serving in Company B in the 2nd Infantry Brigade at Fort Devens, Mass. On June 8, 1963, at St. Mary of the Angels Church in Olean, Jim married the love of his life, Patricia Ann Wisel, daughter of Joseph Leopold and Gertrude Alene (Dibble) Wisel of Olean. Patricia predeceased Jim on October 13, 2007. Drawn by its excellent school system, in 1972 Jim and Patty settled and raised their children in Portville. Over the years Jim and Patty took their family of six on numerous vacations visiting places of historical import, including Boston, Cooperstown, Fort Niagara, Gettysburg, Sturbridge Village, Washington, D.C., St. Augustine, Williamsburg, Harpers Ferry, the Thousand Islands, and beach vacations on Cape Cod, Virginia Beach, the Carolinas and Florida. Jim had a distinguished career as a firefighter for the City of Olean from 1963 to 1987. Concurrently, given his strong work ethic, he was employed by Shearer trucking. From 1987 to 2000, he served as a security and fire safety officer for Saint Bonaventure University. In 2002, Jim and Patty happily retired to Little River, S.C. where the family gathered for memorable holidays and vacations together. Feeling the call of the hills he loved, Jim returned to Portville in 2012. In his last decade, he reveled in evenings sitting on the front porch with his children, telling stories and laughing over a glass of red wine. From a young age, Jim was an avid outdoorsman, enjoying trapping, hunting, and fishing. He cherished western New York and hunted many of the enchanted mountains of the Allegheny River Valley. He loved music and enjoyed playing the guitar and singing with his strong baritone voice. He looked forward to Sundays doing the New York Times crossword puzzle and relished language, lyrics, turns of phrases and vocabulary. He was a prolific reader, especially of westerns, detective and spy novels. He was a formidable Euchre, chess and billiards player and enjoyed tennis and golf in his earlier years. Watching baseball and football games was a favorite pastime, and he was a die-hard fan of the Buffalo Bills. Jim was a member of Portville American Legion Post 814, Portville Conservation Club, and the Portville Historical & Preservation Society. Jim was very proud of his family’s origins in County Tipperary, Ireland from whence his ancestor Thomas Dunn came in 1852 before homesteading in Sartwell, Penn. Jim’s mother’s family descended from Mayflower passenger John Alden. Jim is survived by his four children, Patrick (Laurie), Michael (Carlo), Joseph (Gustavo), and Heather, as well as his five grandchildren, Kyle, Connor, and Chloe Dunn, and Edward and McKenna Scott, of whom he was so very proud. Also surviving is his sister, Kathleen (Christopher) Matteson of New Holland, Ill. In addition, he is survived by many nieces and nephews. Jim was surrounded by his loving family until his last breath, and he will be sorely missed. A celebration of his life will take place at a future date. Funeral arrangements are under the direction of Letro-McIntosh-Spink Funeral Home. Interment will be in St. Bonaventure Cemetery, next to his beloved wife, and nearby his parents, aunts and uncles. In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be made to the Portville Historical & Preservation Society, PO Box 59, Portville, NY 14770 or the Pfeiffer Nature Center at Services will be held at a later date. Arrangements are under the direction of the Letro-McIntosh-Spink Funeral Home, Inc., 24 Genesee Pkwy, Cuba. Online condolences may be made at
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Saturday, July 23, 2022

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