William “Bill” Dunn

Published 3:59 pm Tuesday, August 10, 2021

William Bonner “Bill” Dunn of Bath, NC died peacefully with his son and daughter-in-law by his side at Rex Hospital in Raleigh on the morning of August 6, 2021 at the age of 81 after battling multiple health issues.  Bill was born in Washington, NC on October 25, 1939, the first son of the late Mildred Paul Dunn and William Jacob Dunn of Washington.  His brother Paul preceded him in death.  He is survived by his son Chris, daughter-in-law Emily, and grandchildren Erin and Owen Dunn of Raleigh.

Bill grew up in Washington, where he developed a love of music, reading, and the water which would define much of his life.  He served his country as a personnel officer in the United States Air Force including a tour in Vietnam.  A graduate of UNC at Chapel Hill, Bill became a community planner and eventually moved back to Washington where he had a long career with the state of North Carolina, helping communities across the eastern part of the state with zoning and community development.

Music was always a passion of his.  Bill played drums and percussion with the Washington High School band, and always had something musical going on for most of his life.  He formed several groups while in the Air Force that played for dances, officers’ functions, and musical productions.  When Bill returned to eastern NC, he was active in the Washington community band, many local community musical theater groups including the New Bern Civic Theater and the ECU Summer Theater and had many other small groups he played drums with throughout his life.  He also helped with various schools to promote musical education.

Bill’s love of history and sailing found a new home when the Elizabeth II was built in Manteo, a replica of the ship that brought the first English colonists to North Carolina in the 16th century, on which he became an active volunteer.  He would go on to sail on many other historic vessels including the Dove of St. Mary’s City MD, the Elissa of Galveston TX, the Discovery, Godspeed, and Susan Constant at Jamestown, VA, and the Kalmar Nyckel at Wilmington, DE.  Bill made many lifelong friends on these adventures, and always remarked that he was lucky to live the dreams of a 9-year-old boy who wanted to sail with the pirates.  He continued sharing his love of maritime history becoming involved with the Historic Port of Washington Project and was a fixture at Bath Pirate Days.

We wish you fair winds as you cross the bar to meet your Pilot.

A celebration of Bill’s life will be held at a later date to be determined by the family.  In lieu of flowers donations may be made in Bill’s name to the Kalmar Nyckel Foundation (www.kalmarnyckel.org), the Historic Port of Washington (hpow.org), or Kidz Notes (www.kidznotes.org). 

Online condolences may be addressed to the family by visiting www.paulfuneralhome.com

Paul Funeral Home & Crematory of Washington is honored to serve the Dunn family.