Charles Elmer Dunn, owner of a local auto repair shop, died May 18 at age 90. A resident of Mountain View and Los Altos since 1946, he and his wife, Val, moved to California in 1943.
Born on April 17, 1923 in Locust Grove, Okla. to James Elmer Dunn and Alma Lee Shields Dunn, he was the second youngest of his six siblings. His father died when he was just a toddler, and times were tough growing up in rural Oklahoma amidst the Great Depression, his family said. By age 13, Dunn began leaving home to support himself, hitching rides on the railroad and sending money back to his mother whenever he could. He found work as a ranch hand in Wyoming, a truck driver in Kentucky and Minnesota, and he even worked at the original McDonald's hamburger stand in San Bernadino. His favorite story involved a chance encounter at a diner in Minnesota with Val, the young woman who would later become his wife, his family said. The couple married in 1943.
Their son, Charles Jr., was born while his father was stationed on a destroyer in the Pacific during World War II. Following his discharge from the Navy, he began working in the automotive repair business, first at Tuban Ford in Sunnyvale, followed by Mancini Motors in Mountain View.
In 1975, Charley opened Dunn's Automotive in downtown Mountain View, which he continued to run well into his 70s. An avid golfer, Charley was a member of the Los Altos Golf & Country Club where he regularly met buddies for 18 (and sometimes 19) holes of golf, his family said. He enjoyed boating, fishing, country music and playing cards, his family said. He was devoted to his family, especially his grandchildren.
He is survived by son Charles Dunn, Jr. of Los Altos; his sister, Maxine Tucker of Arizona; three grandchildren, Jeffrey Dunn of Los Altos, Jennifer Bridgman of Mountain View, and Jessica Geis of Santa Clara; six great-grandchildren, Emilie, Christopher, Amelie, Tristan, Hunter and a baby boy due this fall. He was preceded in death by his wife of 63 years, Yvonne Valerie Dunn, and his daughter, Carol Diane Dunn, who died in 1981 at the age of 21.
A memorial service and celebration of his life will take place on Wednesday, May 29, at 10 a.m. at Spangler Mortuary, 399 S. San Antonio Road, Los Altos. Following the burial at Alta Mesa Cemetery, a reception will be held at the family home in Los Altos.