Date of Birth
Date of Death
MELVIN E. DUNNAge 74 of Marco Island, Florida, formerly of Geneva, IL, retired Circuit Court Judge, passed away Monday, January 7, 2008 at the Avow Hospice, Naples, Florida. Surrounded by the love and prayers of his family and many friends, Mel died peacefully with his wife, "Jude" and his son Adam at his side. Born to this life, October 31, 1933, in Chicago, IL, Mel’s growing up years were the stereo-typical biography of a thousand good kids gone bad. Orphaned at age six, he was raised by various relatives. By the grace of God he lived to adulthood and, taking with him the lessons of his youth, he reached out to help others throughout his professional and personal life. He attended St. Thomas the Apostle elementary school, Quigley South Seminary, Hyde Park High School, the University of Illinois at Navy Pier, Roosevelt University and, at the age of thirty-four, Kent Law School. After serving with the Coast Guard during the Korean War he earned a living as a terrific salesman and eventually launched his own private investigation agency. His quick wit and street-wise savvy made him the preferred P.I. of several top law firms. Following graduation from Kent Law School on June 4, 1971 he was employed by a respected Chicago law firm and became the chief investigator for the Illinois Attorney General’s Fraud Division. A marriage to his high school sweetheart blessed Mel with two daughters, Lori and Andrea. In 1972, Mel was united in marriage to Judith Wilkinson Vester and together, they blended his two daughters and her three sons into a family of five. "Jude" would become the heart and soul of every ambition in Mel’s life and in time, she would be the reason he finally surrendered his soul to Christ. After a time with attorney John Nickels of Elburn, the indomitable Irishman struck out on his own by opening a law firm across the street. Even though he had a very busy and successful law practice he had always dreamed of becoming a judge and in 1982, that dream came true. True to form, in that role and many others to follow, Mel re-defined the way things were done. Something rooted in his life, something forged into his character made him approach law with refreshing sincerity yet unflinching principle. In his tenure of sixteen years as a judge, Mel became involved in many parts of the community but especially in places where he could see the struggles of his childhood reflected in those he saw from the bench. He was a diligent volunteer for Mutual Ground, Aurora; he and Jude hosted many foreign exchange students and opened their home to many other children. He taught paralegal classes at Elgin Community College and was a much sought after guest speaker for many community causes and events. In 1986 he ran a hotly contested campaign for a seat as a Circuit Judge and won by a large margin. The motto of his campaign, "Let Justice be Dunn" became the credo of his judicial career. In addition to working in all the courts the Sixteenth Judicial District, he was Chief of the Family Law Division and the Chancery Division. In 1998, at the age of sixty-five, Mel retired from the bench. In 2001, he and Jude moved to the present family home on Marco Island, Florida. Life was great but it changed literally in a heartbeat when a full cardiac arrest altered Mel’s life dramatically. With loving devotion and sheer determination, Jude remained by Mel’s side until at last, he went home with his Lord. MEMBERSHIPSHe was a Fellow in the American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers,A member of the Family Law Council of the Illinois State Bar Association and the Kane County Bar Association; A founder of the Elburn Business Council,A member of the Elburn Lion’s Club and for many years, parade chairman of the Elburn Days Parade;An enthusiastic member of the Marco Lutheran Church, the church choir and the Marco Men’s Club.SURVIVORS In addition to his wife Jude, he is survived by: Two daughters and three sonsLori (Michael) Dunn-Reier of Montgomery, IL,Rick (Toni Keller) Vester of North Aurora, IL,Jonathan (Judy Johns) Vester of Yorkville, IL,G. Adam (Tina Schuck) Vester of Marco Island, FL andAndrea (Brian) Johanson of Roswell, GA;13 grandchildren:Lori’s: Jessica (Eric) Staponkus and Malia and Briana Rick’s: Ryan and Sarah Jonathan’s: David Vester, Heather Johns and Matthew Johns;Adam’s: Kylie Vester Andrea’s: Luke, Abbie , Noah Nehemiahgreat grandchildren:Jessica’s: Elise and Alex Heather’s: Kaylee; 3 former foreign exchanges students who remain like sons and daughters. Christina "Nina" (Dr. Gerhardt) Fliedner of Germany;Lars (Susanne) Johanhage of Sweden andChristian (Claudia) Schmaus of Germany;Two half-sisters:Jane Dunn of Mahomet, IL and"Wish" (Greg) Sims of Mt. Vernon, ILSeveral nieces and nephews:one brother-in-law, Richard "Dick" (fiancee: Yvonne Crane) Wilkinson of Scottsville, AZ and a "family of friends" across the country and around the world. PRECEDED He is preceded in death by parents, his mother and father-in-law: Robert and R. Adele Wilkinson,two sisters-in-law, Lillian Wilkinson and Judy Kelly;two brothers-in-law, Robert Wilkinson Jr. and Roger Wilkinson.MEMORIAL A memorial has been established in Mel’s name to benefit the Marco Lutheran Church and other favorite charities. Memorial checks may be made to the Melvin E. Dunn Memorial and mailed in care of P.O. Box 66, Elburn, IL 60119. Tributes and memories may also be forwarded to the family at the same address or through his obituary at www.conleycare.com. For information please call 630-365-6414 or 1-800-8-CONLEY.
Friends may call on Friday January 11 from 2-8PM at Conley Funeral Home, 116 W. Pierce St., Elburn. A service to celebrate Mels life will be held at the funeral home on Saturday January 12 at 11:00 am.
Interment will follow at Blackberry Cemetery.