Former principal Dunaski diesFormer colleagues and students were saddened last week to learn of the death of Jerome "Jerry" D. Dunaski, longtime Hudson educator and the former principal of the Hudson Junior High School.
Former colleagues and students were saddened last week to learn of the death of Jerome "Jerry" D. Dunaski, longtime Hudson educator and the former principal of the Hudson Junior High School.
According to his family. Dunaski, age 80, died peacefully at Regions Hospital in St. Paul on Sept. 13. He had been battling cancer for the past several years.
Dunaski was a part of education in Hudson for more than 32 years. After serving with the U.S. Air Force during the Korean War, Dunaski used the GI Bill to earn his undergraduate degree from St. Thomas College in St. Paul and a master’s degree from UW-River Falls. He joined the Hudson School District in 1962 as a teacher. He went onto serve as the principal of Hudson Junior High School for 20 years and as principal of the Hudson Middle School until his retirement in 1995.
Friend and fellow educator Don Kadidlo came to the district about the same time. Kadidlo taught physical education and served as a counselor at the junior high with Dunaski.
“Jerry was a multi-faceted personality. Some would describe him as firm, gruff even but almost everyone who got to know him, also came to know that he had a very big heart and cared deeply about his staff and his students,” said Kadidlo.
Kadidlo said Dunaski’s job required him to be firm. “But he usually gave an opening so you could see what he was really like.”
Kadidlo’s son Phil emailed his father from a workshop he was attending on the East Coast to say he and his wife would be flying back for Dunaski’s funeral. He wrote that he had a real fondness for “Mr. Dunaski. Even as a teenager you could tell he was an authentic person. He really stood up for his students and teachers.”
Kadidlo said it was always a pleasure working with his friend even though they had very different personalities. When they interviewed potential new teachers, he confessed to being surprised by how often they agreed on candidates. “I sometimes thought it was strange how well we got along and how often we agreed. But I think we had the same priorities, just different approaches.”
He also recalled something Dunaski always told new teachers to his school. “You better have a good sense of humor. With this staff, you won’t survive here unless you do.” Kadidlo said Dunaski and his staff were “a very cohesive group.” He set high standards for everyone in his building from teachers to custodial staff.
“He was an excellent administrator and always consistent. He expected everyone from the janitors to the teachers to keep building neat and clean -- it was all part of what we did there. He was a real leader and it was a pleasure working with someone you respected and trusted all those years.”
In an interview he gave just before his retirement, Dunaski gave credit to the teachers and staff he worked with throughout his career for helping him do his job. “I have been just smart enough over the years to surround myself with dedicated and professional people who have been super to work with both at the junior high and at the middle school.”
Dunaski is survived by his wife, Darlene Dunaski, and brother, Robert Dunaski; daughters, Kathleen (Mike) Ferguson Quinn, Karen (Jeff) Fagundes, and Angela Allington; sons, Jeff Williams, Mark (Amanda) Williams; grandchildren, Genevieve (Philip) Leavitt, Ashley and Jessica Williams, Blake Allington, Ian Williams, and Nick, Caitlyn, Tim (Julie), Molly, and Dan Quinn; and great-granddaughter, Isla.
Funeral services were held at St. Patrick’s Catholic Church on Wednesday with burial at Fort Snelling National Cemetery. Memorials will be donated in Dunaski’s name towards an educational scholarship through the Hudson School District.
A complete obituary appears in this week’s Star-Observer on page 4C.