Kathryn Dooley Dunn, 87, passed away Thursday afternoon, June 18, 2015, at the Maplewood Terrace Apartments in Viroqua, with many of her 10 children by her side.
Kathryn, a retired clinical nutritionist and Montessori teacher, was a pioneer of Montessori education in United States.
She was born on Oct. 29, 1927, in Chicago to Dr. Harry J. and Marion E. (Culhane) Dooley. Kathryn graduated from Trinity High School in River Forest, Ill., at the age of 16. She went on to study at St. Mary-of-the-Woods College in Terre Haute, Ind., and then at the University of Chicago, where she received a bachelor’s degree in inter-departmental pre-medical studies.
Kathryn was the daughter and granddaughter of physicians and decided on a career of service at an early age. She often said that she felt she would either become a medical missionary to India as a Carmelite nun or get married and have a large family. As she was pursuing her dream of becoming a doctor as a graduate student in physiology at Loyola University’s Medical School in Chicago, that she met Paul J. Dunn, a fellow medical school student from Covington, Ky.
Kathryn and Paul were instantly smitten with each other and Kathryn’s medical career was soon sidetracked by the birth of the first of what would be 10 children — eight boys and two girls. Kathryn became Paul’s indispensable partner in their numerous joint efforts to improve the lives and health of children and, ultimately, of hundreds of adult patients.
Soon after their marriage in 1951, Paul and Kathryn became active in the Christian Family Movement and served as chairs of the pre-Cana programs and on the board of directors of the Cana Conference of the Archdiocese of Chicago. After reading an article in Jubilee Magazine about a Montessori method school in Connecticut, they gathered a group of friends who also had large families at their home on New Year’s Eve 1960 to discuss the possibility of starting a Montessori school in Illinois.
The group Paul and Kathryn brought together ultimately founded Alcuin Montessori School in Oak Park, Ill., in 1961, the second Montessori school in the United States and the first in the Midwest. Alcuin has now been operating continuously for 54 years. Kathryn was a co-founder and served as vice president of the Illinois Montessori Society, as well as a member of Alcuin’s board of directors. She also received American Montessori Society certification as a Montessori directress.
In November of 1964, the Dunns purchased a 260-acre working dairy farm in Ferryville as a vacation home for their still-growing family. The family spent numerous summers at the farm, which the family still owns. Paul and Kathryn made the farm their retirement home in 2004 before moving to Viroqua in 2012.
As an outgrowth of their interest in Montessori, Kathryn and Paul became interested the Doman-Delacato method of treating brain-injured children. Their excitement about the possibilities of this treatment approach led Paul to leave his large pediatric practice in Chicago’s suburbs and to found the Chicago Center for the Achievement of Human Potential in 1967 with the help of Motorola CEO Paul Galvin. Paul served as the center’s medical director. Kathryn designed and directed the center’s visual motor integration program.
As part of their work at the Chicago Center, Kathryn and Paul became increasingly interested in integrative, holistic approaches to medicine. In order to pursue these ideas in depth, Paul returned to private practice and with Kathryn founded the Center for Integrative Treatment and Biochemical Nutrition in Oak Park, one of the first such practices in Illinois. Kathryn joined the staff of the center as a certified clinical nutritionist.
Kathryn also lectured extensively at a number of Midwestern colleges and universities and served as vice president of the International and American Associations of Clinical Nutritionists.
Kathryn is survived by her 10 children, Chris (Beth) Dunn of Wilmette, Ill., Brian (Deb) Dunn of Boulder, Colo., Paul Dunn, Jr. of Northlake, Ill., Peter Dunn of Van Nuys, Calif., Michael Dunn of Los Angeles, Calif., Mark (Ann) Dunn of Chicago, John (Alexa) Dunn of Chicago, Sarah Dunn of Pleasant Prairie, Wis., Jeff Dunn of La Crosse and Julie Dunn of Boulder, Colo.; nine grandchildren, Zeke Dunn, Molly Dunn, Kelly Barnd, Jacob Barnd, Jack Dunn, Patrick Dunn, Katie Dunn, Ian Dunn and Raleigh Dunn; other relatives and many friends.
She was preceded in death by her husband, her parents and her sister, Marian Sterling.
A memorial service was held at Maplewood Terrace in Viroqua on Friday, June 19, 2015. Friends called on Tuesday, June 23, 2015, at the Drechsler-Brown & Williams Funeral Home in Oak Park, Ill. A Mass of Christian Burial was held on Wednesday, June 24, 2015, at St. Luke’s Catholic Church in River Forest, Ill. Burial was at the Queen of Heaven Cemetery in Hillside, Ill. Serving as casket bearers were Will Stroth, Peter Lane, Zeke Dunn, Jake Barnd, Patrick Dunn and Jack Dunn. Online condolences may be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Donations may be sent to the Hospice Program, Vernon Memorial Healthcare Foundation, 507 S. Main St., Viroqua, WI 54665. The Thorson Funeral Home of Viroqua and the Dreschler Brown & Williams Funeral Home of Oak Park, Ill., served the family.