Obituary — Thomas Mellanby Dunn


A memorial service is planned Nov. 13 for Thomas Mellanby Dunn, professor emeritus of chemistry, who died Nov. 6, 2020, at the Summit Hills Nursing Home in Spartanburg, South Carolina.

Thomas Mellanby Dunn

Tom was born April 25, 1929, in Sydney, Australia, and was educated at Newington College and Sydney Boys High School, and earned his bachelor’s and master’s degrees in chemistry at the University of Sydney.

He was awarded a prestigious Royal Exhibition of 1851 Scholarship and completed his Ph.D. at University College London, England, in 1955. After spending the next eight years as a faculty member of the University College London chemistry department, he joined the University of Michigan chemistry faculty as a full professor.

Tom’s research focused on electronic spectroscopy. He was chair of the Department of Chemistry from 1972-83 and chaired the Senate Advisory Committee on University Affairs from 1991-93. Upon his retirement in 1998, the university awarded him emeritus status and the Faculty Distinguished Service Award for Administrative Services.

Tom was an accomplished tennis player, representing Sydney University and competing in the New South Wales Far West Championships. While attending University College London, he was a standout member of the cricket team and later played for Australia House and the Beddington Cricket Club in Surrey.

Tom also enjoyed playing squash and developed a passion for golf later in life. After retirement, he served on the board at the Humane Society of Savannah, Georgia, volunteered at St. Paul’s Episcopal Church in Savannah, and pursued his love of woodworking, crafting many beautiful pieces.

Tom is survived by his wife, Dorothy, her daughter, Stephanie Hoye (Mike), and their families. He also is survived by his former wife, Barbara, and their four children: Deborah Grifka (Michael), Ann Waldrop (Eric), Suzanne Dunn and Geoffrey Dunn (Christi).

Also surviving are seven grandchildren, Misha Grifka Wander (Elise), Heather Harvey (John), Jesse Waldrop, Samantha Waldrop, Tyler Waldrop, Steven Mellanby Dunn Schmidt and Ainslie Dunn Schmidt. Australian family members who survive him are his brothers, Warwick Dunn (Lorraine) and Stephen Dunn (Julie), and his sister, Rosalyn Dight (David), and many nieces and nephews. He was predeceased by his sister, Laurel Cronin, and his second wife, Grace Stephens.

A memorial gathering in honor of Thomas Mellanby Dunn will take place in the Koessler Room of the Michigan League from 2-4 p.m. Nov. 13. Contact Debbie Grifka at with questions.


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