Wednesday, August 22, 2007


Fred Dunn Notre Dame High School Class of 1957

Fred Dunn entered Notre Dame High School as a freshman in 1953, after graduating from St. Francis de Sales grade school. Upon completing his four years at NDHS in 1957, Fred joined the Holy Cross Brothers, along with nine of his classmates, and went through the Novitiate in Rolling Prairie, Indiana, and then attended St. Edward’s University in Austin, TX, where he got his BS in physics in 1961. Fred then taught in Holy Cross high schools for four years. In 1965, Fred applied for and received a National Science Foundation scholarship to Brown University. He attended Brown from the summer of 1965 through the summer of 1966, obtaining a Masters degree in physics. While he was a student at Brown, Fred decided that the religious life was not his calling, and he left the Holy Cross Brothers.

After completing his studies at Brown in August, 1966, Fred went to work at Hughes Aircraft Co. in Fullerton, CA as a systems engineer on Navy sonar programs, a job that he would be engaged in intermittently for the next thirty years. As part of his job, Fred was involved in the design and testing of tactical and surveillance sonar systems, and during his career he spent from weeks to months each year on surface ships and submarines performing these test activities. When General Motors bought Hughes Aircraft in the mid 1980s, Fred was assigned to a technology transfer program, and he spent several months in Michigan, working with General Motors Divisions including final drive (differentials), air conditioning, and power steering. Following this effort with General Motors, he was transferred to a program with the Royal Australian Navy and spent several months in the Sydney area, working on a plan to adapt a U.S. Navy surveillance sonar system to RAN applications.

Shortly after starting work at Hughes in 1966, Fred discovered a sport that he was actually good at: snow skiing. Throughout his youth, Fred had been terrible at team sports due to hopelessly lacking eye-hand coordination. He tried out for basketball and softball teams in grade school, and was doomed to sit on the bench for all but the last two minutes of a sure-to-be-lost game. Upon discovering a sport that he could participate in successfully, Fred became an avid snow skier, driving up to Mammoth Mountain every other weekend during the winter months, as well as spending his vacations at ski destinations in the United States, Canada and Europe. In the summers, he took up water skiing, hiking and running.

Fred married his wife Donna in 1977, and they have two daughters, Julie and Lisa. Julie, the oldest, was born in 1978, and after graduating from high school, she went to California State University in Chico, CA. She dropped out of college midway through her sophomore year, and soon thereafter, got married and had a son. Unfortunately, the marriage did not work out, and she is now divorced and trying to rebuild her life. Julie’s sister Lisa was born in 1980. Lisa received a full tuition scholarship to University of California, Santa Barbara, where she received her BS in electrical engineering, and was an active member of the UCSB track and cross-country teams for her four undergraduate years. After graduation, she enrolled in the UCSB graduate school and received a Masters degree in electrical engineering. She is currently single and is living in Santa Barbara. Lisa is employed by Raytheon Company in Goleta, CA, and still enjoys running several times a week.

Fred worked as a senior systems engineer at Hughes Aircraft Co. until November, 1997, when he retired. He then started his own engineering consulting business, and has done consulting work for Hughes, Raytheon, Digital Systems Resources, and L3 Communications. As time has passed, Fred has let the consulting work slow down, and he is now fully retired. Fred is no longer active in skiing, but is still an avid hiker. He hikes several days each week, totaling on average about 20 miles per week. Fred frequently makes use of Metrolink trains from Fullerton to provide convenient transportation to various hiking trails/routes in the greater Los Angeles, Orange County, and Inland Area regions.

On a negative note, Fred and his wife Donna have grown apart over the years, and after 32 years together, they are in the process of getting divorced. Fred continues to live in Fullerton.

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