Rae Jene Dunn, December 17, 1942~February 9, 2017

Dunn, Rae copyRae Jene Dunn, 74, of Farmington died peacefully on February 9, 2017, at the Earlene Howard Hospice Home in Springdale. She was born December 17, 1942, to Elsie and Raymond “Jack” Rinn as the eldest of five children in Alpena, Michigan, where her father was stationed by the Army Air Corps.

Rae graduated Fayetteville High School in 1960.  She subsequently earned a Bachelor of Science degree in home economics in 1964 and a Master of Science degree in botany in 1978 from the University of Arkansas.

On July 15, 1964, she wed James E. Dunn, a statistics professor at the University.  They recently celebrated their 52nd wedding anniversary.  She was preceded in death by her parents, Elsie and Jack, and her brother, David.  She is survived by her husband, James; two children, Katherine Parsons and Eric Dunn; five grandchildren, Isabel, Graham, and Gordon Parsons and Jason and James Dunn; and three sisters, Patricia Rinn, Gail Gavit, and Lisa Rotenberry.

Rae was an award-winning professional potter, as well as an avid gardener, quilter, art collector, traveler, and proficient sailor.  She and her husband were founding members of the Beaver Lake Sailing Club in 1965.  In 1982 she opened her studio, The Clay Castle, in Farmington, specializing in the design and fabrication of wheel-thrown pottery.  For many years she was a familiar exhibitor at local craft fairs, including the Prairie Grove Clothesline Fair, regional craft fairs such as the annual Brush Creek Bazaar in Tulsa, and presented one-woman shows at the Arts Center of the Ozarks among other locations.  In 1992 she was juried into the American Pen Women Biennial Art Exhibit in Washington, D.C., where her pot, “Kilauea Jar” was cited for Excellence.  Rae’s work, though following traditional forms, often exhibited the unexpected, e.g., a bear as the handle of a canister lid, a tree frog clinging to a coffee mug, ripe wild blackberries encircling the neck of a vase.  She felt that touch was important: “A pot that does not attract the hand, to follow its swells and hollows as well as savor its texture and edges, is mediocre.”  She was a member of the Arkansas Craft Guild and the Heartwood Gallery at the end of her career.

The family would like to thank Dr. Patrick Travis of the Highlands Oncology Group in Fayetteville, Dr. Alessandra Ferrajoli of the MD Anderson Cancer Center in Houston, Texas, and the doctors and caretakers at the hospice home for their professional and compassionate care.  In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to MD Anderson Cancer Center at www.mdanderson.org/gifts.

Cremation arrangements by Beard’s Funeral Chapel.

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Condolences (7)

    Joyce Tuller » 14. Feb, 2017

    Condolences to Rae’s (or as I recall her from Fayetteville High School, Rae Jene) family.
    Joyce Robbins Tuller, a fellow 1960 FHS graduate.

    Anne Faupel » 14. Feb, 2017

    Rae was such a special lady and gentle woman who always managed to keep in touch as I was crossing life’s milestones (HS graduation, college graduation, caring for both of my parents in their final days). I loved her quiet smile and supportive ways.

    Gloria Young » 14. Feb, 2017

    Jim, I grieve for your loss. Rae was a unique and beautiful woman! Miles did not keep her from my thoughts and I have carried both of you in my heart. I missed her gentleness and her wisdom the world is emptier with her leaving. Another time another place–we will again set and visit! Blessings to and to the family. Gloria

    Paula spillars marrs » 16. Feb, 2017

    So sorry to hear about “Penny’. We were classmates and graduated in the same class of 1960 from Fayetteville High. She will be really missed in our lives and any further reunions. Rip Rae.

    Jason Farque » 17. Feb, 2017

    My condolences to the family.

    Phebe Wilson » 17. Feb, 2017

    So sorry to hear this, Dr. Dunn. My condolences to you and your family. I still have the creamer she made me.

    Dan England » 19. Feb, 2017

    Jim, Thoughts and prayers are with you and your family. Rae was always such a wonderful person to be around. I will always remember with fondness, times spent with your family. She will be greatly missed. Peace

    Dixie Wilson » 22. Feb, 2017

    God has a plan. I was at Penny’s wedding. She is so beautiful.. My prayers are with you all.. Love you all dearly.