April 11, 1938 — Dec. 7, 2019
Muriel Cleota Dunn, one of Warrenton’s most beloved and leading citizens, passed away on Dec. 7, 2019. She was 81. A celebration of her life is planned at 11 a.m. Saturday at the Warrenton Grade School, with a reception to follow. She lived a full life of service and love.
Muriel’s parents were Bern and Cleo Shultz, who were founding members of the Warrenton Church of Christ (now the Warrenton Christian Church). In high school, Muriel loved playing with the band, choir and doing skits with her class. Many of her classmates remained friends until her death. She was proud of being inducted into the National Honor Society the first year that program was active in Warrenton in 1956.
When LeRoy Dunn came back from the service after the Korean War, they married on June 10, 1956. The couple were happily married for 63 years. Muriel’s children, Dennis L. Dunn, Daniel C. Dunn and Jane Gillette survive her. Her daughter, Debbie C. Dunn, preceded her in death.
Muriel worked most of her life in restaurants. She enjoyed waitressing and cooking. She and LeRoy purchased Pop’s Restaurant from the Wells family around 1973, and she managed Pop’s for almost 20 years.
Muriel’s greatest joy was being a mother. She enjoyed everything about being a mom. She loved seeing her children grow and thrive. She went to every ball game, track meet and church program that they were in. She rejoiced with her children’s successes and supported them when they struggled.
She was also the spiritual mother to a number of her nieces and nephews. When a family member was struggling or starting out, they might move in with Muriel and LeRoy.
Muriel’s greatest heartbreak came when her daughter, Debbie, died from a car accident at 16, in 1975. Debbie, a saint with a heart full of love, was on her way to Fort Stevens Junior High School, where she was a student teacher. Muriel and LeRoy set up a scholarship in Debbie’s name at Warrenton High School. The scholarship has helped support students for over 40 years. After learning that the cancer was terminal, Muriel said, “I’ll get to see Debbie again.”
After Pop’s closed, Muriel became even more active as a volunteer in the community. She made and sold pies from home. She often donated the pies for Warrenton High School scholarships or church fundraisers.
Muriel and LeRoy were active at the Warrenton Christian Church for all of their lives. Muriel taught Sunday school, mostly to preschool children, sang and was always in the kitchen or working behind the scenes.
Muriel and LeRoy were active in the Veterans of Foreign Wars and the VFW Auxiliary. They went to national and regional conventions around the U.S. Muriel especially enjoyed the convention at Colorado Springs, Colorado, as it was held when the fall colors, which she loved, were out.
They made three vacations in Hawaii over the years, and always visited the Arizona memorial. Muriel and LeRoy were also able to visit much of the U.S. in a trailer pulled by the Dodge Ram they purchased after LeRoy retired.
Muriel helped care for her parents and in-laws until their deaths. In 1994, her siblings and cousins, who had moved away, paid for her and Leroy to take a cruise to Alaska, partly to thank Muriel for her caring for their parents and grandparents. Her sister-in-law, Nancy Shultz, shared: “She was the glue that held the family together.”
Muriel enjoyed playing games such as dominoes and Rook, doing puzzles and watching game shows (she was very good at Wheel of Fortune). She loved attending senior citizen lunches with friends at the Warrenton Community Center, pitching in with anything that was needed.
Muriel and LeRoy were named grand marshals for the Warrenton’s Fourth of July parade in 2016. Muriel was especially proud when she was inducted into the Warrenton High School Hall of Fame in 2019. She said, “I expected it with LeRoy, given what he did in sports, and driving the bus so long. But maybe this shows that people appreciated me, too.” They not only appreciated, but loved her.
With the cancer diagnosis Muriel was “overwhelmed” by the amount of love and support she received. There were hundreds of people who prayed, family drove from all over to visit, sent cards and called. People extended invitations to lunch to reminisce and share.
Muriel is survived by her husband, LeRoy Dunn; her sons and daughter, Dennis, Danny and Jane; her daughters-in-law, Jamie and Marsha; and her grandsons, Josh and Jake. She is also survived by her brother and sister, Leonard Shultz and Francis Rodgers. Her sisters, Evelyn Benson, Marilou Hawks and Vera Bird preceded her in death.
Muriel was the spiritual mother to many of her nieces and nephews, including Elaine, Peggy, Suzy, Janet, Melanie, Christopher, Laura and Sandy. She was a spiritual mom and grandma to many people in her church and community, including Rayla Goldberg and her children, Sarah, Micah and Benjamin.
Muriel was a child and servant of the Lord, Jesus Christ. No one remembers her ever uttering a profanity or curse. Instead, they remember her warm, genuine smile and servant heart.
In her 29,825 days she raised a family, ran a restaurant, baked 100,000 pies and gave of herself in a million ways. She fought the good fight, finished the race, kept the faith. Some people proclaim their faith. Muriel Dunn lived it.