John S. Dunn was born in Beaumont in 1917, and moved with his family to Houston at the age of two. He graduated from Houston’s San Jacinto High School, then attended The University of Texas at Austin, where he was a member of Kappa Sigma fraternity.
Returning to Houston, he established the insurance agency of John S. Dunn & Company (now John S. Dunn & Son, Inc.) in December, 1938. He purchased a mortgage banking firm in 1947 from the late Texas Governor, Allan Shivers. For the remainder of his life, he was its majority stockholder, senior chairman of the board and a director. He also was one of the founding board members of the First State Bank of Bellaire, University State Bank, and University Savings Association.
Mr. Dunn served as a member of the Board of Visitors of The University of Texas System Cancer Center M.D. Anderson Hospital and Tumor Institute (now The University of Texas M.D. Anderson Cancer Center) from 1968 to 1982, and was Chairman of the Board in 1977-1978. He was secretary, vice president and a member of the Board of Trustees of the Hermann Hospital Estate. He was a 32nd degree Scottish Rite Mason, member of Gray Lodge No. 329, The Ruthven Commandry and Arabia Shrine Temple. For many years, he was a member of Christ Church Cathedral.
Among many honors, Mr. Dunn was most proud of the Gold Good Citizenship Medal he received in 1975 from the Sons of the American Revolution and the Board of Visitors Award, the highest honor of the University of Texas M.D. Anderson Hospital and Tumor Institute.
Mr. Dunn died on September 8, 1982, leaving three children—John S. (Steve) Jr., Dow (died on October 30, 2003) and Dagmar—and four grandchildren.