Meet Frank Dunn, Wilton’s 2021 Memorial Day Grand Marshal

Frank Dunn stands center, with fellow members of Wilton's American Legion Post 86. (L-R) Don Hazzard, Bud Boucher, Tom Moore and Bill Glass. (photo: American Legion Post 86)

The choice of Frank Dunn, to be the Grand Marshal at Wilton’s annual Memorial Day Ceremony at Hillside Cemetery, is fitting. As the U.S. Army veteran and Wilton’s American Legion Post 86 Chaplain describes his time in Korea, “We did some very heroic things.”

Dunn was born in Queens, NY, where he grew up alongside his seven siblings. He describes his childhood with his brothers and sisters as “noisy” and “fun.” He attended Flushing High School in Flushing, NY. In 1955, before graduating, he enlisted in the U.S. Army, as he was motivated to get the GI Bill to attend college after his service.

Dunn served for three years. After training in New Jersey, he was shipped to Fort Pope, LA. He continued in the infantry there and decided he wanted a change. He told a friend who worked in regiment that he wanted to serve overseas., Within a week, the Army sent him to a shipping point off the West Coast and Dunn was assigned to Korea.

The trip to Korea took about seven days. As his ship pulled up to the dock, one of the men who was boarding to return home said, “You’ll be sorry.”

“I was never sorry,” Dunn recalled.

During the entire time he was in Korea, Dunn was an MP, and joked he was “probably the smallest MP in the whole U.S. Army.”

When his service ended in 1958 and he returned stateside, Dunn worked during the day and attended night classes at Fordham University where he studied Business Marketing. Searching in The New York Times for job opportunities, he answered an advertisement for the American Can Company in Midtown and started working there shortly after in the company’s mailroom. Less than a week later, one of the department heads offered Dunn a job in the export traffic department. He was promoted to Export Sales Manager and traveled the world doing business. “When you travel throughout the world you get to meet a lot of interesting people,” he said.

Dunn met his wife, Claire, when he went to a Catholic Youth Organization dance with his sisters. He spotted Claire on the dance floor and asked her to dance. The two married in 1960 and moved to Fairfield County when the American Can Company relocated, and they have lived in the area ever since. Dunn later worked for the Bank of America in Wilton and then for the hot-air balloon rides that used to be offered in town.

He now resides in Wilton with his wife of over 60 years. He has four children, five granddaughters, and a great-grandson. Dunn likes to spend his free time relaxing, traveling, and being with his family.

He says Memorial Day is dedicated to, “remembering all of the men and women who served their country.”