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Former Deputy Fire Chief Robert Dunton, 79, Has Died

In 1995, Robert Dunton retired from the Framingham Fire Department after serving 33 years and attaining the position of deputy chief.

Former Framingham Deputy Fire Chief Robert Dunton. Courtesy: Wilder Funeral Home
Former Framingham Deputy Fire Chief Robert Dunton. Courtesy: Wilder Funeral Home
Robert Michael Dunton, 79, of Homosassa, FL passed away on Mon., May 5, 2014 at Hospice House in Lecanto, FL.

He was born January 5, 1935, in Newton, Massachusetts. The son of Mary Catherine Finn and Robert Clinton Dunton of Framingham.

Born premature, he had one sister Dolores Elizabeth Dunton born May 3, 1938, and they resided at 155 Beacon St., Framingham., his maternal grandmother Elizabeth (Hanna) Finn, also lived with them.

Robert received his Baptism, First Communion and Confirmation at St. Bridget's Church in Framingham, and attended the Framingham Public School System.

After graduating from Framingham High School, he went on to receive his Associates degree, in Fire Science at Quinsigamond Community College, Worcester, Massachusetts. His Bachelor's degree, in Fire Science, at the University of Massachusetts in Amherst, Massachusetts, his Master's degree, in Education and his minor, Administration at Worcester State College, Worcester, Massachusetts.

He worked on the Railroad for 10 years while attending college. After graduating from college. Dunton worked at the Massachusetts Firefighting Academy.

Along with his job at the Framingham Fire Department, he started as a Private and became Deputy Fire Chief before retiring. Dunton was a Captain Instructor and Program Specialist in charge of Ladders, both ground and aerial, as well as Fire Alarm Communications and Supervisor in charge of Special Programs state-wide.

He served as an active member of the Planning Committee to devise and implement a Master Plan for five departments in the state, which resulted in the development of performance standards for all ranks, from firefighting up to chief, he served as member of the Academy Validatuin Committee, established to review all ISTA "Red Book" Manuals used in the state. He served on the Legislative Advisory Committee, which dealt with pending, mandatory, legislation for the training of all firefighters, state-wide. The Committee primarily addressed itself to the #1001 Firefighter Standard, developed by the International Assoc. of Fire Chiefs and the International Assoc. of Fire Fighter.

Dunton was also an Instructor in Breathing Equipment at the Massachusetts Correctional Institution Training Academy for Correctional Officers, a Fire Science Instructor for the Massachusetts State Police Training Academy in Framingham, Massachusetts and Fire Instructor for special police courses covering the basics of firefighting. He also served on site Selection Committee for locations for the Strength and Agility Tests, he worked at the testing sites where the tests were administered and served as an examiner on the testing dates, for the Massachusetts Civil Service Division of Personnel Administration.

He  was also Professor and Fire Science Instructor at Quinisgamond Community College, Division of Continuing Education, Worcester, Massachusetts, and Massachusetts Bay Community College, 50 Oakland Street, Wellesley Hills, Massachusetts. Bob joined the fire Department in October 1962, and was appointed Lieutenant in 1970, and was promoted to Captain on July 5,1981, and promoted to Deputy Fire Chief in 1992. He was considering the position of Chief when he decided to retire in 1995. He was certified as an Emergency Medical Technician (cert. #810388), also Certified American Heart Association (cardiopulmonary resuscitation and emergency cardiac care).

He served as a member of the Framingham Fire Department's Joint Apprenticeship and Training Committee to develop Standards of Apprenticeship for EMTs. This program is sponsored by the U.S. Department of Labor in conjunction with a grant through the International Assoc. of Fire Chiefs and the International Assoc. of Fire Fighters to train Fire Fighters in Framingham to become EMTs. He was a member of the Safety Committee, which makes recommendations to the Chief on improving working conditions and safety in the Department. He was also on the Retirement and Social Security Committee, a member of Collective Bargaining Team CAR.E.S., the Manpower Committee, the Executive Board local #1652, the Fire Department Honor Guard, and the Social Committee of the Fire Department Training Committee. Elected Delegate AFl-ClO Conventions, Delegate P.F.F.M. (Professional Firefighters of Massachusetts) State Conventions, and Delegate to IAFF (International Association of Firefighters) International Conventional. Bob was Treasurer of the Framingham Firefighter's local #1652 for 17 years (Affiliated with the IAFF) until he retired.

Dunton also belonged to many Professional Organizations: Framingham Firefighter's's Mutual Relief Organization, the International Association of Arson Investigators, the International Society of the Fire Service Instructors, the International Society of Fire Protection Engineers (New England Chapter), the Massachusetts Association of Fire Investigators, the Massachusetts Fire Prevention Association, the Boston Gaelic Fire Brigade, the Massachusetts Institute of Fire Department Instructors, the Massachusetts State labor Council AFl-CIO, the National Firefighting Museum and center for Fire Prevention, Washington, D.C., the National Fire Protection Association (Charter Member, Fire Service Section), the New England Institute of Fire Department Instructors, the Professional Firefighters of Massachusetts, and the International Association of Fire Chiefs.

Dunton has received many Special Fire Fighting Awards: International Association of Fire Chiefs scholarship Award for Scholastic Achievement, Special Commendation from the Framingham Board of Selectman for attainment of Masters degree through night school. Special Commendation from the Framingham Board of Selectman for firefighting action at the Chelsea Fire, Appointed to the Fire Service Performance Board, Appointed to Master Planning Fire Service and Educational Board, Appointed to the Board to review the #1001 Standard for Firefighters. He also had Fire Training Advance Arson Seminar, sponsored by the Mass State Police and Norfolk County District Attorney's Office, Qualities Instructor "under Fire Marshall's Office" to teach "M.F.I.R.S." Massachusetts Fire Incident reporting System within the Commonwealth, Audio Visual Aid Seminar, Fire Company Leadership and Operations Seminar, Firefighting Symposium for Fire Chiefs and Executive Officers, Fire Instructor Orientation Seminar, Fire Officers Training Seminar, Hazardous Material seminar, Hi-rise Firefighting Seminar, Human Engineering Course, Labor History Law, Arbitration, Collective Bargaining, Labor Economics (University of Massachusetts, Institute for Labor Affairs), Massachusetts Fire Training Council seminar, Military Aircraft Firefighting Symposium, National Pump Seminar, National Fire Academy Courses at Yale University: Management Overview I, Management II, NFIRS (National Fire Incident Reporting Systems, Labor Management, Hazardous Material, Elevator Course, PFFM Seminar, Collective Bargaining, Professional Firefighting Course at Chicopee and Topfield, Massachusetts, Tactics and Strategy for the Fire service. He was also very active in the community Organizations: Knights of Columbus, Coeur-De-Leon #87, Fraternal Order of Eagles Arie #894, Past President; Framingham Town Meeting Member, Chairman, Precinct#9 for 26 years, Massachusetts Real Estate Broker, Irish Social Club of Boston, Ancient Order of Hibernians, Watertown, Massachusetts; B.P.O. Elks of Natick, Massachusetts, Lodge #1425, changing after moving to Florida to the Lodge in Inverness, Florida; Boston Gaelic Fire Brigade, The American Irish Club of Homosassa, Florida, The Irish American Club of Beverly Hills, Florida; The New England Club of Beverly Hills, Florida; The Sugarmill Woods Genealogy Club, and The Citrus County Genealogy Society, Inverness, Florida The New England Historic Genealogical Society, 101 Newbury St. Boston, Massachusetts,; The Boston Sparks Association Inc., Boston, Massachusetts; The Polish American Club in Beverly Hills, Florida and The Polish Heritage Club in Beverly Hills, Florida. Bob is a member of the St. Benedict Catholic Church Men's Club, past treasurer and current Vice President. 

He married Alice Murphy on January 3, 1959 and had two children, Robert Patrick Dunton born October 30, 1959 and Mary Doreen Dunton born July 3. 1961. Alice passed away of cancer January 20. 1977. Bob and Joanne met at Joanne's sister's house in March of 1982 and married. Bob and Joanne did a lot of traveling, they have seen a great deal of the United States, including a cruise to Alaska. They have also been to Canada, many European countries, including Belgium, France, Luxemburg, Holland, Germany, England, Ireland, Scotland, Sweden, Denmark, Portugal, Spain, China, Hong Kong, Japan, Australia, New Zealand, and they intend to do a lot more.

In 1995 Robert retired from the Framingham Fire Department after serving 33 years and attaining the position of deputy Chief, and Joanne left Wonder Bread Bakery where she had worked for 20 years and they moved to Homosassa, FL, where they reside now at 14 Tall Marigolds Ct., in a home they designed. They purchased a motor-home to travel more. Bob and Joanne are members of St. Benedict's Catholic Church in Crystal River, Florida. Where he is a Eucharist Minister and belongs to the Men's Club. Bob also worked as a maintenance man at Pope John Paul for a couple of years and also at St. Benedict's Church for a while until he had his heart attack. Bob is survived by wife Joanne Dunton (together 32 years), Homosassa, FL; children Doreen Brooks (husband Eric), Ashland, MA and Robert P. "Bobby Dunton (wife Teri), Saugus, MA; stepchildren Loraine "Lori" Castagna (husband Paul), Homosassa and Wallace "Wally" Sessoms (wife Bettie), Dunnellon, FL ; sister Dolores Baker and grandchildren Alycia, Catherine Rose, Robert, Timothy, Michele, Jonny and Shannon and many nieces and nephews. He was preceded in death by his first wife and mother of Robert and Doreen, Alice (Murphy) Dunton, Jan. 20, 1977. Bob will dearly also be remembered for his love of a good cup of coffee and his newspaper.

In lieu of flowers, please make memorial contributions in his name to your local chapter of the American Heart Association.


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