Jack Dunfey: American Icon - Global Citizen.
The Peacemaker - Jack Dunfey Crusader for Constructive Change
Welcome to NH Secrets Legends and Lore Podcast, I’m your host Wayne King and this episode is broadcast
concurrently with The Radical Centrist Podcast as part 2 of a special podcast honoring the life of John “Jack” Dunfey
who died this year at the age of 92. If you have not listened to part 1 of the podcast I recommend that you go to the
show notes page at NHSecrets.blogspot.com and listen to it as well because it presents the early years of Jack’s life
from his youth to his service in WWII following the attack on Pearl Harbor to his years as CEO of the Dunfey Hotel
corporation and ultimately CEO of Omni International Hotels.
Heroes come in many forms.
There are those who provide inspiration to us because they are thrust into the firmament by a single act or event;
there are those associated with a movement - whether brief or sustained - who summon our better angels.
Then there are those who live a life so exemplary- so filled with rich example - that the entire arc of their lives cries
out for a deep appreciation of how a life, well lived, can lift us all to greater heights - inspiring us to live our own lives
with greater purpose, clarity and impact.
Jack Dunfey was just such a man.
From his earliest years, the middle child of 12 - born to an immigrant family living in the Industrial hub of Lowell,
Massachusetts. His parents, Roy and Katherine Dunfey, working every free moment in the family business in the
“Acre” section of Lowell, Massachusetts; to his years as a fighter pilot and later flight instructor, having enlisted in the
service following the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor; to his years as the spark plug that took the family from a
single lunch counter to ownership of a clamshack on Hampton Beach and then - one by one, rung by rung, hotel by
hotel - to ownership of flagship hotels and restaurants that would eventually propel him to CEO of Dunfey Hotels and
the international chain of Omni Hotels.
If only a career in service to his beloved country and ascension to leadership of one of the world’s premier hotel
chains were the hallmarks of Jack Dunfey’s life that probably would have been sufficient to qualify him for hero status
in the eyes of many. But the full story of Jack Dunfey was how he wove his dreams - dreams he shared with his 11
brothers and sisters - dreams of social justice, peace and equality, into this already tight tapestry with the enthusiastic
participation of those siblings a became a leader of a heroic family in an age where heroes were desperately needed
and where their emergence would move mountains.
By the time that Jack Dunfey died at 92 he would stand at the side of Nelson Mandela and Bishop Desmond Tutu and
celebrate a new beginning for South Africa; Rejoice a new day for the people of Ireland with John Hulme and George
Mitchell; convince a stubborn Fidel Castro to free more than 80 political prisoners and to remove landmines from the
war torn country of Angola.
He would also set an example for color and gender blind promotion and the ethical respect for employees that was
the forerunner to today’s socially responsible business practices - not only because it was the right thing to do but
because it was good business.
In part 1 of this podcast we followed the course of Jack and the Dunfey family as they grew from a Lowell lunch
counter and a Hampton Beach clam shack to International Hoteliers including their purchase of the Parker House and
their discovery of its connections to the Saturday Club of Emerson, and Oliver Wendall Holmes that would inspire
them to create the New England Circle - and Global Citizens Circle.
In the final part of our podcast - Jack Dunfey: American Icon - Global Citizen we look at the evolution of both a family
and a brand - from hard working immigrant roots to their part in the social justice struggles of their times.
So we bring you part two: The Peacemaker - Jack Dunfey: Crusader for Constructive Change