On October 16, our dear friend and former Death with Dignity National Center Board Treasurer Stephen Dunn died of lung cancer. He died peacefully at home, with loved ones by his side. He was 79 years old.
“Stephen was an ideal board member; a financial expert, generous donor, and active participant,” said Death with Dignity Board President George Eighmey. “However, what made Stephen even more special was his ability to show concern for others, inject humor to get his ideas across, and make us all feel that our ideas were worthy of consideration. He is sorely missed.”
“There was never a time when I didn’t feel supported by Stephen,” added Death with Dignity Executive Director Peg Sandeen. “He was very dedicated to our cause. His business acumen was an asset to our organization, and he always kept us accountable. He loved theater, arts, jazz, and financial statements in equal measure.”
Stephen was an accomplished businessman with a passion for the arts. After an early career in hospital administration, he became the owner and manager of S Dunn & Co, a real estate investment and brokerage company that handled a variety of commercial and industrial transactions. From this activity grew City Escrow, Inc. where he served as CEO, and the development of The Bank of Orange County where he was a founder and director and chairman of the bank’s loan committee.
While still involved in the banking and finance field, he became aware of the introduction of electronic draft capture of bank credit card transactions. Bancard Systems, Inc., which Dunn founded in 1986, grew rapidly to become one of the largest card-processing companies in the nation; he led the company as Chairman and CEO until its sale in 1998 to one of the ten largest financial institutions in the nation.
Stephen’s retirement was, in his words, “an utter failure”: he soon found himself serving on a number of non-profit boards principally centered around musical and theatrical activities. He and his wife, Judy, lived in New York and could often be found at one of a number of performance venues listening to and enjoying theater, classical music and jazz.
“I am so glad that I had the good fortune to meet Stephen and get to share our passion for death with dignity with him,” said Carol Pratt, Death with Dignity’s vice president. “He brought a cherubic smile and keen intellect to our board and graced us all with genuine friendship.”
We will miss Stephen dearly.