[MSA-talk] Passing of Pete Dunn

Post, Jeffrey POSTJ at si.edu
Thu Nov 16 10:34:13 EST 2017

It is with great sadness that I report the passing of Dr. Pete J. Dunn on November 8, 2017, two days short of his 75th birthday.  Pete was a museum specialist and mineralogist in the Smithsonian's Department of Mineral Sciences from 1972 until he retired in January, 2008.  Prior to his arrival at the Museum of Natural History, he was a curator in the Geology Department at Boston University and he served in the United States Air Force.  He completed his Master's degree in mineralogy at Boston University and his Ph.D. in mineralogy/geology from the University of Delaware.  During his time at the Smithsonian, Pete was internationally recognized for his research on the mineral collection that resulted in descriptions of 134 new minerals.  He had a particular passion for the complicated and fascinating geology and mineralogy of the Franklin-Sterling Hill mining district in New Jersey, publishing more than 70 scientific papers and a nine volume monograph that are among the definitive scientific works for that locality for researchers, collectors and the public.  In addition to his prolific research activities, Pete was the United States representative to the International Commission on New Minerals and Mineral Names for over two decades, and was associate editors for American Mineralogist, Mineralogical Record and Neues Jahrbuch für Mineralogie.  Pete retired in January 2008 and immediately returned to the Museum as an Information Desk volunteer.  He said that after so many years working behind the scenes, he wanted a chance to finally meet our visitors.  He loved it, and rarely missed a day.  My last conversation with Pete was at the visitor desk on the Friday before he died.  Pete served as scientist and volunteer in the Museum of Natural History for 45 years.  He was fascinated by minerals and thoroughly enjoyed helping lost museum visitors, but perhaps more than anything, he loved a good joke - always carrying in his shirt pocket index cards with punchlines to his favorites.  His joyful, and very loud, laughter is now just a memory, but his many contributions to mineralogy and the Museum are forever part of a rich legacy.



Jeffrey E. Post, Ph.D.
Chairman, Department of Mineral Sciences
Curator, National Gem and Mineral Collection
Smithsonian Institution
P.O. Box  37012
NMNH, MRC 0119
Washington, DC 20013-7012
PHONE: 202-633-1814
FAX: 202-357-2476
postj at si.edu<mailto:postj at si.edu>

For FedEx or UPS (or other couriers), please use:
Jeffrey Post
Smithsonian Institution
MRC 0119, Natural History Building, West Loading Dock
10th St. and Constitution Avenue, NW
Washington, DC 20560

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