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Luella Dunn 1921 - 2023 Monday, May 15, 2023


October 30, 1921 - March 9, 2023 passed away peacefully at her adopted home in Naples, Florida. Born on a homestead in rural North Dakota and a pupil from a one-room schoolhouse on the prairie, she rose to become the Clerk of the North Dakota Supreme Court. She was only the third clerk since statehood. She began her career at the State Capitol in 1945 and served until 1993 under thirteen Chief Justices in a 48-year career.

Ms. Dunn started work with the Supreme Court in 1947 when she was hired to serve in a dual position as secretary to Chief Justice A.M. Christianson and as a deputy clerk of the supreme court. She was originally from Blaisdell, North Dakota.

In her role as the Clerk of the Supreme Court, Ms. Dunn also served as secretary/treasurer of the State Bar Board, secretary of the Disciplinary Board of the Supreme Court, secretary of the Judicial Conduct Commission, and as a member of the North Dakota State Canvassing Board.

Ms. Dunn was a charter member of the National Conference of Appellate Court Clerks and served as its president from 1982-1983. She also served on the executive committee of the National Conference of Bar Examiners and as its treasurer. Throughout her career, her commitment to public service was recognized many times. She received a commendation for outstanding service to the bar, bench and people of North Dakota from the State Bar Association in 1981. Governor Allen Olson bestowed the Heritage Award upon her in 1982 for outstanding service as a state employee. In 1986, she received the Liberty Bell Award from the State Bar Association in recognition of community service which strengthens the effectiveness of the American system of freedom under law. Also, in 1986, she received the J.O. Sentell award from the National Conference of Appellate Court Clerks. In 1991, Governor Sinner presented her with his Award of Excellence in Public Service.

She was married to Adrian Dunn, a public school teacher who later served as the executive director of the North Dakota Education Association.

She was preceded in death by her parents, Enoch and Maybel Berg, a brother, Gordon, and two sisters, Echo and Marie. Luella is survived by a son, Woodrow Craig Dunn of Saint Louis Park, Minnesota.

Memorials to the Adrian R. Dunn Journalism Scholarship Fund, University of North Dakota.

A memorial service will be held 1:30 p.m. Monday, May 15 at First Presbyterian Church in Bismarck.

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