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In Loving Memory

Created by Julie Eichenberg
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Remembering Dr. Maggie Dunn

Margaret “Maggie” McCurry Dunn
February 11, 1940 - December 20, 2023
 
Margaret “Maggie” McCurry Dunn touched many with her grace and wisdom and her ability to inspire others with just a simple conversation.  Maggie was, without a doubt, the smartest person in the room, but she never made you feel lesser than. She was, in fact, a member of the American Mensa Society, which includes just the upper two percent of the general population.
 
Maggie was born to Peg and Ray McCurry in Pittsburgh, PA on February 11, 1940, and moved with her parents to Daytona Beach, Florida in 1951, attending Mainland Junior High and Senior High School.  There she excelled academically and met her future husband, Ed “Eddie” Dunn, Jr.  They both attended the University of Florida -- he on an athletic scholarship and she on an academic scholarship.  Maggie pledged Delta Delta Delta Sorority and made lifelong friends with whom she would meet up for reunions throughout her life.  
 
Maggie and Ed were married on June 18, 1960, and at that time, she made the choice to withdraw from school and focus on family.  Their first child, Wes, was born in March of 1962 in Daytona Beach, and then they moved to Fort Ord in Monterey, CA with the Army where they welcomed a daughter, Kelley in 1963.  They then moved back to Florida for Ed to attend Law School where they had a third child, Christine “Chrissie” in 1965.  Maggie helped Ed build his law practice and helped to build his political career.  They welcomed a fourth child, Julie, in Tallahassee in 1972 while he worked for Governor Reuben Askew.  
 
In her 40’s, Maggie decided to return to school to complete her bachelor’s degree and her master’s degree from Stetson University and then ultimately completed her Ph.D degree in British and American Literature with a concentration in poetry from Indiana University. She completed doctorate level coursework in 18 months to ensure that she could stay close to her children. 
 
Maggie worked briefly for Stetson University upon her graduation before ultimately joining the faculty in a tenured position for Rollins College and retiring as a Professor Emeritus.  She was the Director of the English Program in the Hamilton Holt School where her favorite classes to teach were those with non-traditional students because she understood their journey and they, hers. Some of her students thought so much of her that they asked her to officiate their weddings, which she did for several students over the years.
  
She presented papers at academic conferences in the US and abroad and co-authored one book of original scholarship – “The Composite Novel” (1995) - with her longtime friend, Dr. Ann Morris.  Her work on the concept of the composite novel and on composite film is cited in numerous articles and anthologies.  
 
Her first published novel, “Vinegar Pie and Kumquat Ice Cream: A Composite Novel” (2014), was originally written as a collection of poems for her children to understand her family as an only child.  It became a favorite of many readers beyond her family who loved Mags’ voice, her humor, her story telling. 
 
Maggie fell in love with opera as a teenager when she accompanied a local singer - a contralto - in a series of concerts at the Bandshell in Daytona Beach, Florida.  Through a thirty-year career as a literary critic and teacher, Maggie’s passion for opera never diminished.  Maggie worked with a dear friend and former student, Christopher Weiss, an accomplished composer, and the two wrote the first composite opera, “In a Mirror, Darkly”.  Because of her love for opera and the theory of the composite, it is no accident that her first foray into the world of opera was the first-ever composite opera, structured as three discrete one-acts that develop a single narrative arc.  
 
“In a Mirror, Darkly” was awarded the Domenic J. Pellicciotti Prize.  Excerpts have been performed at the New York City Opera’s VOX Showcase and at the John Duffy Composer Institute as part of the Virginia Arts Festival.  
 
As a writer, Maggie was also known by her pen name, S. O’Duinn Magee. She always had many complex stories in her head and at the age of 80, published her novel “Mags at the Genius House”, which is not only written by an “older woman” but features an older woman as the heroine.  Maggie’s dear and lifelong friend, Dr. Gail West, collaborated with her on the marketing and the messaging for this first in a series of books about climate change.  This time of marketing and promoting the series of “The Mags Chronicles” was so meaningful to Maggie in the last few years of her life, and there were so many stories in her head that she wanted to share.
 
While we were unable to capture all of this series while she was alive, we will share as many stories as we can in the years to come.
 
More than anything, Maggie appreciated the “connection” of family – especially with her children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren.  
 
In one note from Maggie, she shared to her children… “How can I express the joy of such a connection as ours?  Truly, “The Circle of Life”, in which we are entwined, is the beauty of being human.”  She doted on her grandchildren and appreciated and heralded each of their special gifts and especially loved her four children to whom she gave all of her gifts and talents.
 
Maggie is survived by her children, Wes (Rosanne) Dunn, Kelley (John) Perez, Christine (Mike) Baker and Julie (Bob) Eichenberg, her grandchildren, Nick, and Ben (Kate) Dunn, Jonathan (Alyssa) and Christina Perez, Cat and Maggie Baker and Zach and Tyler Eichenberg and her great grandchildren, Penelope Jo and Peyton Dunn.  She will also be missed by her lifelong friend, Gail West. She recognized all of the individual talents and gifts of her loved ones and treasured those relationships with each of her friends, children and grandchildren.   
 
She is pre-deceased by her former husband, Ed Dunn, her grandson, Matthew, her parents, Ray and Peg McCurry and her longtime friend, Ann Morris and so many other friends and family members. 
 
We will celebrate Maggie’s life on Saturday, February 10th at 2 p.m. at the Trails Club House at 201 Main Trail in Ormond Beach, Florida with a reception immediately following. 
 
In lieu of flowers, gifts can be made in Maggie’s memory to the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation Georgia Chapter at https://give.cff.org/tribute/rememberingmaggie.
Maggie held the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation very close to her heart and hoped to find a cure for the disease that took the life of her first grandchild, Matthew.  
 
 
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