Born in 1940 in New Jersey, Dunn attended Grinnell College in Iowa and earned an master's of library science degree from the University of Texas at Austin. Subsequently, she directed the Clatsop Communtity College library from 1986 to 1992.
Dunn's time in Astoria was highlighted by her desire to serve her neighbors. Robert Adams of Astoria, Dunn's brother, recalled her devotion to civil issues. "Her life was governed by an unusual breadth of social concern," Adams said. "She was determined to make the community better through action."