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‘Mama Dunn,’ 100, now influencing 6th generation at First Baptist

IVA, S.C. (BP)–A century old and still going, going, going. That’s Ora Dunn.

A faithful member of the T.E.L. Sunday school class at First Baptist Church, Iva, S.C., Dunn served the class as treasurer for many years and just recently asked the class to get a “younger lady” to take the position “’cause I’m just getting too old to worry with balancing the statements and writing checks.”

Dunn has been a member at First Baptist, Iva, more than 50 years and has served as a teacher for various children’s classes and for Vacation Bible School.

She has influenced at least five generations at the church. “I have seen so many boys and girls that I taught at church grow and mature into fine, Christian young people,” she said. “Now they have children of their own and are bringing them to church — which is why it is so important to raise your family in church. And when you get to be 100, you also see many of your students become grandparents themselves.”

Dunn rises early in the morning to get her housework done while it is cool (including hanging the laundry out in the “fresh air” to dry). She does her own cooking, and just ask any pastor who has served her church about “Mama Dunn’s Cherry Yum Yum.”

Dunn also continues to quilt with the Senior Citizens Golden Agers, and very soon, she and her T.E.L. class will be learning to play handbells along the children’s handbell choir.

Dunn was born in Georgia on Aug. 15, 1900; the waters of Lake Hartwell now cover a portion of the area where she grew up.

Her family attended Poplar Springs Baptist Church. Sunday school was held every Sunday at the Georgia church, but preaching was held only once or twice a month. On Sunday morning, the whole family went to Sunday school in their two-horse wagon, picking up other people on the way until the wagon was full. Baptism was in a pool hewn from rock and located about 300 feet from the church near a spring which “gushed very cool water.”

After marrying Waymon Dunn, she moved to Iva. The couple had eight children. Five are now deceased — one during the Korean conflict.
McGee is a correspondent for the Baptist Courier, South Carolina Baptists’ newsjournal. (BP) photo posted in the BP Photo Library at www.bpnews.net. Photo title: MAMA DUNN.

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  • Yvonne McGee