Eleanor Dundon

Obituary of Eleanor Rita Dundon

Eleanor Rita ("Dee") Dundon, 83, of Boone, NC, died peacefully at her home on March 23, 2022, surrounded by her children, grandchildren, and loved ones. She was just 5 days shy of her 84th birthday. Dee was known for her love of people and animals, her commitment to justice, her fierce protectiveness of any creature in need, and her irrepressible sense of humor. Raised in tiny Orwell VT, Dee and her young family moved to Boone in 1966, after short stays in Indiana and Florida while her then-husband furthered his education. Dee was an activist at heart and quickly became involved in her community no matter where she lived. While in Florida in the early 1960s, her work in the civil rights movement led to an arrest, death threats, and more. Once in Boone, she became involved with the League of Women Voters, the Red Cross "Candy Stripers," anti-pollution efforts, Cub Scouts, and other groups. Although Dee was an energetic and devoted volunteer in many arenas, her special passion was for the care of neglected and abandoned animals. After rescuing a steady stream of abandoned and neglected pets, Dee helped found the Watauga Humane Society, where she was a dedicated volunteer for more than four decades. She served as its President for 18 years and as a board member for even longer. To honor her dedication, WHS created the Dee Dundon Service Award in 2015. One of her proudest moments was cutting the ribbon on the new shelter on Paws Way. Dee earned her Bachelor's degree in Elementary Education (K-3) from Appalachian State University in 1974 while also working and being a single mom to three children. She joined the staff of Appstate's Belk Library in 1975 and retired in 2003. Dee's contributions included helping launch the first campus paper recycling program; being part of the conversion to an electronic checkout system launch (imagine inserting an electronic sensor into the spine of every one of the tens of thousands of books in the University library!); and gifting the Acquisitions department with a 28-year accumulation of stray popcorn and granola pieces under her desk. Perhaps her greatest contribution, though, came from mentoring her student employees. She often went beyond mentoring to become their "surrogate mom," and several of them have remained in touch with her for decades. In keeping with her love for nature, Dee was buried on Saturday, March 26 in a private graveside ceremony at Carolina Memorial Sanctuary near Asheville, NC (https://carolinamemorialsanctuary.org). Their carefully-planned natural ("green") burials nourish rather than damage the earth and are helping to reclaim 11 acres of clear-cut land into natural woodlands, meadows, and wetlands. Dee was preceded in death by her father, Joseph Martin Dundon; mother, Margaret Cecelia (Fitzpatrick) Dundon; and beloved brother Gael Martin Dundon, all of Orwell, VT; and by numerous four-legged companions, including the most loyal of all, Diesel, just 6 months prior.Dee's last remaining sibling, her sister Mary Margaret Yungfleisch of California, passed away on April 3, just 9 days after Dee. Dee is survived by sons Robert "Bob" Richardson Jr. and Patrick Richardson; daughter Mary Margaret (Duncan) Cavanaugh; grandchildren Lily Cavanaugh, Ethan Richardson, Adam Richardson, and El Richardson; numerous beloved nieces, nephews, grand-nieces, and grand-nephews in and around Vermont; former sister-in-law Joan Dundon Carlyle, former daughter-in-law Carla Alman Richardson, and John Webb and daughter Helen, all of whom she considered as family. In lieu of flowers, memorial donations can be made to the Eleanor "Dee" Dundon Spay/Neuter Fund at SNIPS of Watauga Humane Society (online at https://wataugahumane.org/blog/posts/67 or by mail to WHS/SNIPS, P.O. Box 1835, Boone, NC 28607); to Amorem Hospice and Palliative Care at https://www.amoremsupport.org/donate; or to Partners!Canines at https://www.partnerscanines.org/donate. A Celebration of Life will be held at the Watauga Humane Society shelter on Sunday, May 1 from 2 to 4 p.m. Please see https://www.CaringBridge.org/visit/EleanorDeeDundon for details. Finally, Dee's children and grandchildren wish to express their deep gratitude to cousin Carolyn Dundon; to "Dee's Angel's," especially John and Helen Webb, Susan Reed, Frankie Kelly, Mark Edwards, Mary Michaud, Nancy Coffey, Melissa and Tom Bahleda, Susan King, Belinda Dining, Sheila Barnhill, Monique Eckerd, Jason Kendrick, and Mary Catherine Lynch; to Amorem Hospice and Palliative Care, especially Christine, Evelyn, Sandy, and Alberta; to her loyal friend Ashley Sutton; to her friends at the Wellness Center's Parkinson's Boxing Class (she rocked those pink boxing gloves!) and the High Country Parkinson's Support Group; to the members and supporters of SNIPS, Watauga Humane Society, and Partners!Canines; and to her many devoted friends who enriched and enlivened her life.
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