Obituary: William Joseph Dunn

Billy Dunn celebrates his Lifetime Achievement award

18th March 1933 – 14th September 2023

William Dunn, known to his friends and family as Billy, was a Licensed Trade Legend who passed away aged 90 on September 14th. I was privileged to have shared many a chat and heard many of his wonderful stories.

Billy joined the family business, Joseph Dunn Bottlers Ltd in 1957, after doing his two years national service and worked with his brothers Christopher and Joseph until he retired in 2002.

He married his wife Maureen Murphy, also in 1957 and they bought their first home in Rutherglen and went on to have eight children – seven boys and lastly a lovely girl. Liam, Johnny, Paul, Joseph, Michael, Christopher, Aidan and finally Siobhan. Although Billy worked very hard, full-time in the family business and three nights a week judging greyhound racing at Shawfield, he made time for his children and they recall their childhood as a happy and joyful time with their dad always giving them great encouragement.

During their long and happy marriage Billy and Maureen moved from Rutherglen to Langside, and loved to host annual celebrations in their home for the residents of the local Care Homes. These parties would consist of “Sing a Longs “and Billy always put on a Family Pantomime, they were not Kings Theatre worthy, but everyone had a great time and a good laugh and that was all that mattered to Billy!

Billy also lent his support to many charities over the years which included fundraising and organising events. He loved people and he was great at bringing people together.

His faith, which was very important to him, played a huge role in his life and he worshipped daily. It probably stood him in good stead particularly since he followed another family tradition and supported Clyde FC. For 22 years he was a Director and Vice President, supporting the club through its ups and downs, of which there were a fair few. It was indeed a labour of love.

He also loved golf – golf was in his blood. He was a life long member of Cathkin Braes and a member at Turnberry. He loved competition, and, in fact, he even played eighteen holes on the putting green at North Berwick the week before he died. After his death Turnberry paid tribute by flying their flag at half mast.

But back to the licensed trade – Christopher may have been the business brain behind the family business – which flourished – but it was Billy who was the master of the sale and the front-facing member of the family. He charmed all who met him and the sheer force of his personality stood him in very good stead when it came to attracting new business to the Dunns Group, excelling in driving licensed trade sales.

73B04ABF-AFAB-4082-A011-CB230493DE84He went on to be a Director of the Society Drink Industry Foundation, a Director of the British Soft Drink Industry Association, President of the European Soft Drink Association, President of the Benevolent Society , President of the Scottish Licensed Trade Association and was Visitor to the Maltmen at the Trades House of Glasgow. He received a DRAM accolade in 2003 – a Lifetime Achievement Award which recognised his contribution to the Industry over the 45 years he had served it (main picture).

After Maureen’s sad death in 2004 Billy busied himself with his 15 grandchildren, his church and charitable work and in 2009 he got remarried to Sue Maslen and he moved to live with her in Cornwall. As usual Billy threw himself into life there – reinventing himself as a silver surfer. They both lived there very happily for five years before they moved up to North Berwick to be nearer family.

Billy had a very generous spirit, he saw the good in everyone, and there was nothing he loved better than a good party. In fact his sons and daughter recall him hijacking some of their birthdays – which even extended to him combining his 80th with one of his granddaughter’s 21st celebrations. His last party was in June for his 90th. His family say he was in fantastic form. He spoke to the assembled family and friends saying, “My life couldn’t be as happy as it is today without all you loving me, loving all the people I love and loving each other. Remember to do that for your rest of your lives.” Billy’s son Johnny put it eloquently, “Dad was a loving family man. He was a wonderful example of how to live a life full of love. What a legacy.”

Billy’s funeral mass took place on the 13th of October at St Columbkille’s Church, Rutherglen. He was buried in Girvan, after a beautiful service in the Sacred Heart, Church.

There will also be a Mass of Thanksgiving for Billy’s life at Our Lady Star of the Sea Church in North Berwick at 10am on the 10th of November.


Category: News, People
Tags: Billy Dunn, William Dunn, William Joseph Dunn