Flags fly at half-staff at the Moss Justice Center for a man considered a legend around its courtrooms.
E.L. Dunn, who spent nearly 30 years as a bailiff for York County, won't be telling jokes and passing out candy today. Instead, court proceedings will be suspended for his funeral this morning.
Dunn died Saturday at Piedmont Medical Center. He was 92.
Four weeks ago, Dunn worked his last day as a bailiff, a job many thought he'd do until he died, said Sheriff Bruce Bryant, who also knew Dunn from the Masonic Lodge and the Crescent Shrine Club.
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"You won't see many people doing what he's done at 92," said fellow bailiff Charles Dunlap. "Nothing could keep him from his work. He's an icon, a legend around here."
Dunn, whose real name is Edward, even though he's known by his initials, retired from his first career at age 62. With the help of his wife, he spent nearly four decades running Dunn's Grocery and Service Station at the corner of Camden Avenue and Ebenezer Road. After two years of retirement, Dunn started as bailiff and worked his way up to chief status.
"Mr. Dunn was so much fun to be around. He always had a joke to tell," Bryant said. "He loved his job. And the judges, lawyers and others in the court system fell in love with him because he made them feel good about being here."
Another bailiff, Jimmy Quinn, said it was hard for him to talk about Dunn without laughing -- in a good way. His routine 11:30 a.m. lunch, tendency to repeat stories and penchant for hugging the ladies will be missed, Quinn said.
"He liked to be with people," Quinn said. "I never heard anyone say anything bad about him."
The county's bailiffs now work security and tend to the jurors. Much of York County's staff are older gentlemen on their second career. Dunn took leave for medical reasons but was still employed by the county at the time of his death, Bryant said.
Thomas Caveny, a bailiff with Dunn since 1991, said he'll never forget Dunn's spirit. He recalls how Dunn would dress in all green on St. Patrick's Day or in orange after Clemson won.
"If he was sitting right here, he'd still be talking," Caveny said. "He always told good, clean, one-liners. Even if we already heard them."
Clerk of Court David Hamilton remembers getting candy at Dunn's store as a child.
"He was a good, fine man," Hamilton said. "Never in a hurry. I used to say he moved as slow then coming out to service our car as he did today. That's probably why he lived so long."
Hamilton said the decision to shut down court in the morning shows how much Dunn meant to the court staffers.
"We used to tell the jurors how long Mr. Dunn has worked here and how old he was," he said. "They'd often give him an ovation. He was distinguished and respected."
Dunn loved his family and told people about his great-grandchildren all the time, Quinn said.
On Monday, Quinn, like many others, shared a common feeling about Dunn: "We're going to miss him."