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John Elwood Dunn III

November 22, 1928 ~ April 11, 2022 (age 93)


John Elwood Dunn, III, age 93, of Wilmington, NC passed away peacefully on the eleventh day of April 2022.

John was born in Somerville, New Jersey to John E. Dunn, II and Margaret Eleanor Coale Dunn on November 22, 1928. John was preceded in death by his parents and his sisters Virginia Dunn Murphy and Eleanor Dunn Redway. John is survived by his wife, Helen Sue Miller Dunn, his son John E. Dunn, IV, his daughter Mary Susan Dunn Wyche and her husband Kenneth, grandson J. Evan Dunn and Becky Welch, granddaughters Rosamond J. Dunn, Kathryn F. Wyche, Jessica Susan Wyche Salvas and her husband Matthew, great-granddaughter Madison Susan Salvas and great-grandson Caiden James Salvas. As well as many nieces and nephews and their families.

John joined the United States Marine Corps in 1946. Being the age of seventeen, he needed his parents’ permission. After his discharge, he earned a history degree at Franklin & Marshall College. He met the love of his life, Helen, in 1950 and was married June 2, 1951. John and Helen headed to the West Coast where John worked for the Weyerhaeuser Company. He worked with Weyerhaeuser for 16 years in sales management, which took them to Rhode Island and then finally to Baltimore, MD. In 1969, he purchased and operated a home center business for several years. Eventually, John and Helen became active in the real estate business where he served as director on the Greater Baltimore Board of Realtors and was a member of the Real Estate Million Dollar Association.

John and Helen retired to Wilmington, NC in 1994 where they enjoyed going to the beach, fishing and playing golf. John had previously been involved with the Marine Corps’ Toys for Tots program in Baltimore and continued his efforts far into his retirement. He recruited and engaged volunteers from the Cape Fear Detachment 1070 of the Marine Corps League and set up drop-off locations with help from the local community and businesses.  In addition, he served as the Detachment Senior Vice Commandant charter member. Referred to as “Mr. Toys for Tots”, John received citations from New Hanover County, City of Wilmington, Salvation Army, and the Marine Corps League for his work. He was proud to be a Marine and dedicated over 30 years to Toys for Tots as well as the Fallen Marine Program.

A celebration of his life will be at a later date. In lieu of flowers, memorial donations may be made to Toys for Tots (

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