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Dr. Ellen Mary (McGee) Dunn

October 28, 1935 ~ March 25, 2018 (age 82)

Dr. Ellen Mary Dunn, Phd.

Sydney Mines/Sydney

It is with broken hearts that we, the family of Ellen (McGee) Dunn, share the news of her death on Sunday, March 25, 2018, after a brief illness.  Our mother passed from this world, continuing her journey into the next, surrounded by family and music, enveloped in peace and love.

Born back in the good old days to the late Stephen and Stella (Diggins) McGee of Sydney Mines, Ellen went on to marry the man of her dreams and enter the profession of her dreams.  She has had a long and influential career in education, earning the respect, recognition, admiration and love of many thousands of people to whom and with whom she taught. She was innovative, dedicated and resourceful and held a strong belief in, and genuine affection for every child who passed through her doorway. 

Always a scholar, Ellen continued her own studies while raising her seven children with her devoted husband, earning her Masters in Education and her Doctorate of Education.  Ellen was always interested in trying new technology, never shy from encouraging advancements in education.  Through the years she developed her many talents and interests from sewing and knitting to woodworking, ceramics and making beautiful rosaries.  And although not a musician herself, she expressly appreciated and encouraged the music-makers around her, enjoying decades of her husband’s daily piano and serenades.

Charitable in every respect, all who knew this remarkable woman will remember her for her boundless kindness toward others, her limitless sacrifice for her children, her nourishing and heartening guidance that sustained us, and her undying love for her husband Gerard.  She modeled compassion, tolerance, understanding and forgiveness.  But her greatest gift to all who knew her was ensuring we understood our unique importance to her, celebrating and believing in the individual greatness in us all, helping us to see ourselves through her optimistic and loving eyes.

Ellen is survived by her husband, Gerard Thomas Dunn, her children Morrissey (Cheryl Chafe), Camilla Dunn, Stellamarie (Larry) Wile, Timothy (Gail), Miriam MacDonald, Damien (Millie Pettigrew) and Gerard.  She leaves behind two beloved sisters Ada Keating and Stella Ferns, her many grandchildren and 13 great-grandchildren who will grow up knowing and loving her through our stories.  She is also survived by her extended McGee and Dunn in-laws and her many nieces and nephews who cherish her. 

She was a good neighbor, dear friend, remarkable teacher, loving sister, devoted wife and the most supportive and wonderful mother any person could wish for.

The Persian Poet Rumi wrote “Set your life on fire; seek those who fan the flames.”  This incredible person fanned our flames, making us all, and the world, much brighter.  

Besides her parents, she was predeceased by her three brothers Anthony, Stephen and Gerald McGee and son-in-law David MacDonald.

Visitation for Ellen will be held from 6-9 p.m. on Wednesday in the W.J. Dooley Funeral Home, 107 Pleasant Street, North Sydney.  Funeral mass to be held at 11:00 a.m. on Thursday at St. Joseph Church, North Sydney with Rev. Patrick O’Neill officiating.  Burial will take place at a later date.

Memorial donations may be made to your local Food Bank.  Online condolences may be sent to


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