Donald G. Dunn
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Menands - Donald G. Dunn, 90, peacefully entered into eternal life on January 12, 2022, at his home in Menands.
He was born in Niagara Falls, New York on October 29, 1931 and was the son of the late Roy and Loretta (Driscoll) Dunn. On August 21, 1984, he married his Cecile M. Dunn in Dallas, Texas, a loving and devoted union for over 37 years.
Donald grew up in Lockport, NY, attended school at St. Patrick's Roman Catholic School before moving on to Lockport High School. At Lockport High he played the center position on the Lockport basketball team before graduating. He earned honors with the NFL All Stars and was named Outstanding Basketball Player in the 1948-1949 and 1949-1950 seasons. He would later be inducted into the Lockport Athletic Hall of Fame, Class of 1949. Although all of his trips for basketball were exciting, one of his most memorable was the "once in a lifetime" trip that Don took during the 9th grade summer break. He was invited to take a camping trip to the North Pole with 5 of his school mates, a gym coach and his business partner. They were flown into Canada, camped along the Hudson River and several lakes on their way to the North Pole. It definitely was a life lesson in finding food to eat and how to cook it, carrying a canoe and shooting the rapids, and learning to skirt the rattlesnakes and bears.
Donald received a basketball scholarship to play the forward position on the Canisius College Golden Griffin basketball team in Buffalo while earning his B.S. in Business. He enjoyed playing basketball in the Memorial Auditorium, the Boston Garden, at Niagara College, at Syracuse University, and at Manhattan and Siena Colleges to name a few venues. The Griffin Team was considered as good as any basketball team in the nation at that time.
Donald married Suzanne Cochrane in Buffalo, NY in 1954 and started his working career in retailing at JC Penny's while raising three children. He moved to San Jose, California in 1963 to continue his retailing career with R.H. Macy's in San Francisco after Macy's bought 3 department stores in the San Francisco and Oakland Bay area. Macy's was new to the San Francisco area at the time, which gave Donald, as Department Manager for Housewares, an opportunity to establish Macy's Cellar for the San Francisco store.
When Donald and his family returned to Buffalo, NY, in 1967, he pursued and received his Master in Business Administration at the University of Buffalo. Once he completed his MBA, Buffalo University President Ketter hired him as his Executive Assistant in the President's Office. Don became the Fiscal Officer of the Graduate School of Social Work and also served as the President's liaison who worked with the student body to stop the riots on the University campus in the late 1960's.
Donald began his Erie County government career when he was tapped by Erie County Executive Edward V. Regan to be his Executive Assistant for Management in the County Executive's Office in 1972. He became Erie County Budget Director while serving a dual role as Erie County Finance Director. He then became the Deputy County Executive under County Executive Ed Rutkowski. Among the many projects Don was responsible for was the County's full value assessment system, a new countywide computer system and management of the construction process for the 80,000 seat football stadium which later became known as Rich Stadium after the negotiated sale of naming rights was completed.
In 1983, Donald became First Deputy State Comptroller under NYS Comptroller Edward V. Regan. In his capacity as Chief of Staff to the Comptroller, Don was responsible for the office's auditing of all state departments, agencies, authorities and municipalities. He directed the installation of a new computer system to computerize all records for the NYS Employees Retirement System and instituted a new State payroll system. He was also instrumental in drafting NYS's internal control legislation and legislation eliminating the State's annual "spring borrowing".
In the fall of 1994, Governor Elect Pataki appointed Donald as Chief of Staff to the committee that prepared the budget for the newly elected Governor. This budget eliminated a $5 billion deficit and resulted in a year-end surplus. He was appointed First Deputy Secretary to Governor Pataki in 1995 and was responsible for all administrative matters within the Executive Chamber which included staffing, budgetary matters, working with State agencies, not for profit groups and business groups. Don was appointed Chairman of the Local Government Assistance Corporation (LGAC), implemented a scanning system that responded to 100,000 pieces of correspondence monthly, while eliminating a backlog of 13,000 unopened pieces of mail. He initiated restoration projects in the State Capitol, which triggered a major Capitol Building restoration effort. He also supervised and managed the Governor's Office move from the World Trade Center to a midtown location,
In 1997, Donald was named Executive Vice Chancellor of SUNY. In a consolidation of functions he was also given the titles of Senior Vice Chancellor for Finance and Management and Vice Chancellor for Capital Facilities. His office oversaw 64 campuses. SUNY was and still is the nation's largest single system of higher education. Don was instrumental in securing $30 million for the Clean Fab computer chip research facility that was being expanded at that time.
Donald became President of the SUNY Construction Fund in 1999 and was responsible for the planning, design and construction activities at the State University's 34 state operated campuses. He retired for the second time from State service in 2002.
Donald and Cecile enjoyed extensive travels with family and friends throughout the years and relaxed spending quiet moments in their New York, Vermont and Texas homes. Don was an avid reader, a competitive tennis player, loved to swim, and was always perfecting his golf game. He had many dogs throughout his life, but none like his beloved Marlor. Don also enjoyed his memberships in many organizations but none more than the local memberships in the Fort Orange Club; University Club and Historic Albany Foundation.
Don is survived by his wife, Cecile (Balestrieri); daughter Deborah (Faustino) Rodriguez; grandchildren Rebecca, Nathan, Megan and Hannah; great-grandchildren Xavier and Cole; and his sister Linda Christensen. He is also survived by several nieces and nephews and their children.
He was predeceased by his sons David and Brian Dunn; his first wife Suzanne; his parents, Roy and Loretta Dunn; his sisters Patricia Williamson and Judy Wiemann; and his brother Robert Dunn.
In lieu of flowers, please make donations in Donald's name to the Mohawk/Hudson Humane Society, 30 Oakland Ave., Menands, NY 12204; Tunnel to Towers Foundation, T2T.Org or a charity of your choice.
To leave a special message for the family online, visit www.NewComerAlbany.com