Cover photo for James Edwin Dunn's Obituary
James Edwin Dunn Profile Photo

James Edwin Dunn

December 11, 1932 — August 16, 2020

James Edwin Dunn

James Edwin Dunn, lifelong resident of Pepperell, passed suddenly at his home on Sunday, August 16, 2020.

Born December 11, 1932 in Groton MA, he was the son of the late James F. Dunn and Edith (Scarci) Dunn of Pepperell. Husband to his devoted wife of 62 years Maryjane (Markham) Dunn, and brother of Frank Dunn of Pepperell. Father of Terry Portwood of Florence, Italy and her sons Garrett Portwood and Gavin Portwood; Carol Renna and her husband Gerard Renna of Clearwater FL; Leslie Bresnahan of Foxboro MA and her children Michael Bresnahan, Kelly Narayan, and Maria Bresnahan; Patricia LaRochelle of Pepperell and her children Jeffery LeDrew, Keri LaRoche, and Trevor LaRochelle; and Christine Dunn and her husband Fabio Fernandez of Cambridge MA;  also survived by five great-grandchildren (with two on the way), and many beloved nieces and nephews.

He was a graduate of Pepperell High School, Class of 1950, and served two years in the US Army in Korea achieving the rank of Corporal. His working career included Manager of the Wirthmore Grain Store in Pepperell, partner of Willson & Dunn Salvage Company, and owner of J.E. Dunn Battery from 1963 – 2004. He co-founded the Pepperell Crank-Up along with Kim Spaulding in the town bicentennial year of 1975, and stayed actively involved for 40 years. He continued his interest as an avid collector and restorer of antique farm machinery and tractors throughout his life, and was known far and wide for his encyclopedic knowledge on the subject.

In service to the town he loved, he volunteered as a Pepperell Firefighter for many years, served two 3-year terms on the Pepperell Board of Selectmen (two years as Chairman), worked many years on the Pepperell Finance Committee (including Chairman), served on the Board of Directors of the Pepperell Cemetery, was a member of Warren Veterans Firefighters Association, the Odd Fellows, VFW Post 3291, and achieved the level of Master Mason as a member of the Saint Paul Lodge A.F. & A.M. for 62 years.

A skilled storyteller with keen interests in subjects ranging from American and world history to the automotive industry, he will be remembered for his quick-wit and being a dear and trusted friend to many.  Jim “held court” at 3 Cross Street for 62 years, where there was lots of good discussions on a wide range of topics, the coffee was always fresh and hot, and everyone was welcome.

DUNN – James Edwin, a lifelong Pepperell resident. August 16, 2020. For the safety of those we love and care about during this difficult time, funeral services will be private. For Mr. Dunn’s online memorial, please see

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