Castleknock College Union

Patrick Dundon, class '39

Apr 9, 2020
Patrick Dundon, class '39 -

The Union was deeply saddened to learn of the passing of Patrick Dundon (class '39), brother of the late  Sheamus (Jim) (class '37), the late Monsigner Eamonn (class '37) and the late Dermot (Derry) (class '41).

Patrick Dundon, formerly of Borris, Co. Carlow has died in California. He was the last remaining child of Maye Flood and Dr. Edward Dundon of Borris who was O/C of the Fourth Battalion, Carlow Brigade of the Irish Republican Army during 1916 and the War of Independence.

Born on September 27, 1920, he was educated at Castleknock College and left in 1939. He joined the Irish army in 1941 and left in 1946 with the rank of Lieutenant. He went to live in the US in 1949. The pride of country he felt from his father’s involvement in the independence movement, he now transferred to his adopted country. That was his reason for joining the US Air Force in 1950 and becoming a US citizen in 1951. He served in Korea from 1952 to 53. While stationed in Sacramento, on July 4 1951, he met a young Californian called Theresa Drage at a party in Alameda and they were married less than two months later on September 1, 1951.

After leaving the Air Force he went to work for Sears department store in Oakland, San Francisco and stayed with the firm until he retired in 1988. Although he was regularly made salesman of the month or the year, he made little of that. He was a man who believed in friends and family. Work, he said, was just something he did to put food on the table. An interview he did for a job soon after arriving in the US shows his priorities. He was asked in a questionnaire what he wanted to have most in the world and was given a choice of a boat, a Cadillac, a house. Paddy wrote down that he would love to have a good singing voice. He didn’t get the job.

Later in life he identified what was wrong with the American Dream.’We are to have everything, the boat, the two cars, the house, but they forgot to put in the joy. There is no place for joy because the American dream is just things.’

He was someone people felt comfortable sharing their problems with, and he helped out many family members and friends, and people at St. Joseph's Church in Alameda where he worshipped. He volunteered for years with the local St. Vincent De Paul, delivering furniture, food, and help to the elderly and poor. He did this well into his 80's. He also delivered food with Meals on Wheels and in his later years, he received meals from the very same group.

As a young man, Paddy was a keen golfer and a member of Borris Golf Club. He won the County Carlow Challenge Cup in 1939 at the age of 19. Paddy got into running when he was 60. In a short time he started competing in the senior Olympics where he won many medals. He also ran three marathons. His best time was on the Oakland Marathon in 1984 with a time of 3:34. He loved the outdoors and had regular family outings to Yosemite National Park. After his beloved wife, Terry died, he lived on his own for twenty years. He was fiercely independent.

Patrick Dundon died on March 29th 2020 at Senior Living Carlton Pleasant Hill, California, just a few months short of his 100th birthday. He was predeceased by his wife Terry, his sister Mary O’Leary of Borris, Co. Carlow, his brothers Monsignor Eamon Dundon of Sydney, Australia, Professor Seamus Dundon,Dublin and Derry Dundon, Alameda, California. He is survived by his children, Patrick, Sheila, John and Chris, by his grand children Kate, Ryan, Will and Zane; by his great granddaughter, Maisie, by his daughters-in-law Martha and Marianne and son in law, Dale; by his nieces and nephews, grand nieces and nephews in the US and in Ireland.

A memorial service will be held as soon as the lifting of Covid 19 restrictions allows.

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