In Memoriam: Judith Dunn (1946-2018)

Judy Dunn headshot

Judith (Judy) Lynn Lamp Dunn spent 34 years working at Marietta College as an Administrative Assistant in the Rickey Science Center. During her tenure at the college, she was known for doing everything from ordering chemicals, live mice, dead cats, and pizza to managing countless student workers and running endless errands, from serving as Building Coordinator and “face” of the Rickey Complex to knowing exactly what form was needed for every possible task the faculty needed to complete. 

She did everything she was ever asked to do, and more, and she would always drop whatever she was doing at the time to take care of faculty and student needs. Amazingly, she did it all with a smile. No matter how urgent the request, or how frazzled the requester might have been, Judy never seemed to mind. She was just happy to help.

Judy Dunn, 71, passed away on Tuesday, September 11, 2018, at Marietta Memorial Hospital surrounded by her loving family. She was born on November 29, 1946, in Parkersburg, West Virginia, to the late Howard E. and Wilma Clegg Lamp. A 1964 graduate of Parkersburg High School, she married her husband James (Jim) W. Dunn on December 18, 1965, and began working at the college in 1979.

Judy is survived by her husband of 52 plus years and their two children, Julie P. VanDyk (Ted) of Marietta, Ohio, and James P. Dunn (Keri) of Williamstown, West Virginia; grandchildren, Carrington and Becker VanDyk, Alex and Emily Dunn, Krista Postlethwait, Katie and Kasey Schaffer; five great grandchildren; four brothers, Dave, Mark, John and Scott; three sisters, Doris, Pat and Karen and numerous extended family members and friends.

In addition to her parents, she was preceded in death by a granddaughter, Danielle Marie Dunn.

“She knew everything about my family and always asked how they were doing,” said Dr. Kevin Pate, Chair of the Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry. “She even kept a picture of my oldest daughter on her desk. Who does that? Every time I had my kids at school she was anxious to see them. She’d give my son something to work on, and then watch as he, instead, would hook all of her paper clips together.  This ‘game’ seemed to repeat itself every time the two of them were together. When she should have been scolding him, she chose to smile and laugh about it instead. I suspect she secretly wanted to strangle him, but she never let on. She just enjoyed the interaction with him. In fact, I always got the feeling that she loved my kids as much as her own kids and grandkids. She was very special.”

Dr. Debbie Egolf, Professor of Chemistry, agrees.

“Family meant the most to Judy, and our families became her family,” she said. “Shortly after Judy retired, my 90-year-old mother-in-law moved to Marietta and wanted to hire someone to help her with some correspondence. We asked Judy if she would be interested and she was thrilled to meet Sylvia. I don’t think much letter-writing happened; instead they became fast friends, with Judy driving Sylvia all over as they went furniture shopping, restaurant-hopping, and to the nail salon. Not only that, Judy would bring her grandsons to visit with Sylvia, take Sylvia to their music recitals and performances, and treat her like she was part of her family. Sylvia adored her. Judy was such a blessing.”

Judy was the ultimate people person. Students loved her because she treated all of them with respect and because she always provided a shoulder to lean on and an ear to listen to their problems. When Marietta College sells itself as a place you can send your kids because they will be cared about as individuals, Judy should be used as evidence. Nobody embodied that philosophy more than she did, and few people did more for our students than she did. She routinely invited international students to her house for holidays like Easter and Thanksgiving because they lived too far away to go to their own homes.

With a family as big as hers, there is no doubt that Judy’s house on a holiday was an absolute nuthouse. She would have to be crazy to invite any more chaos into her life on those days. But that thought never even crossed her mind. It was far more important to her to make our students feel like they had a second home, and Marietta College’s students were the winners for that.

Assistant Professor Dr. Bonnie Martinez can speak firsthand about the impact Judy had on students.  Dr. Martinez, who was a student at Marietta College in the late 1980s recalled, “I would not be where I am today if it weren’t for Judy’s help during my junior and senior years at the college. She went out of her way to help me. Back at a time when computers weren’t readily available, I would write my college papers and then Judy would type them for me because I didn’t have an easy way to do it myself.” 

As a non-traditional student who was pregnant with her first child during her senior year, Dr. Martinez remembers, “Judy would always make sure to ask me how I was doing and whether I needed any extra help. As a mother herself, she recognized the extra challenges I was facing as a student and soon-to-be mother.” 

When Dr. Martinez returned to Marietta in 2011 as an assistant professor, there was Judy to help again.

“She welcomed me back when I first started teaching at the college,” Martinez said. “During that first year she saved me from many sticky situations while I learned the ropes. She would always go out of her way to help students and anyone else that crossed her path. I am forever indebted to her.”

Dr. Pate captures what so many people who knew her probably believe.

“There are dozens of complimentary words that come to mind as each of us remembers her, but I think the best word I can use is irreplaceable,” he said. “She was a great colleague and a great friend. She made all of our lives easier and she made all of us smile. Judy had a true impact not just on the lives of our students, but on everyone she met. She was one of a kind. You don’t replace a Judy.”

In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to the Strecker Cancer Center, c/o Marietta Memorial Health Foundation, P.O. Box 97, Marietta, OH 45750; the James Cancer Center,460 West 10th Ave. Columbus, Ohio 43210, or Marietta Hospice, 450 Pike St. Suite B, Marietta, OH 45750.