Jeff Dunne’s sporting achievements were great and many, but even they couldn’t compete with his character.
A mainstay of Launceston’s sporting and business community for more than 30 years, Dunne is being remembered as a great family man and role model after dying from a heart attack on Monday aged 64.
A talented footballer and basketballer who grew up in Ballarat, Dunne enjoyed a 101-game career with St Kilda between 1977 and 1983, winning back-to-back best and fairests in 1979 and 1980.
He played one game with Richmond before relocating to Tasmania, where he went on to captain the state side and coach East Launceston and South Launceston.
A long and fruitful association with basketball followed, including a four-year stint as coach of SEABL outfit Launceston Tigers.
Dunne joined forces with Brett Smith, Dean Draper and Helen Proctor in 1993 to set up Devils Basketball Club, which his three sons Simon, Glen and Reece all represented.
Smith, who played 180 games for the Tigers, said Dunne had been a great friend.
“He truly is one of the great guys – he was a terrific guy, a fantastic family man,” Smith said.
“On a personal note he was a great man, a father first and a terrific guy to have in any sporting organisation whether it be football or basketball.
“He was always a gentleman and always up for a chat so he’s going to be sadly missed by all.
“He was a major player in sport and business in Northern Tasmania for many years and well-respected and well-loved and it’s such a shock for him to pass away so suddenly.”
Dunne owned and operated a number of businesses – most famously the Painter’s Pot, which has since been renamed Inspirations Paint.
Former Launceston Tigers chair and Tasmanian Senator Helen Polley, who worked closely with Dunne in sport and business, praised him as an “all-round decent guy” who had a great sense of family.
“He was professional, he was caring, he was committed,” Polley said.
“He was so professional in how he went about coaching the guys, but he was also a really good role model for the guys both on and off the court.
“He was just such a good person to have around the club and I’ve never heard anyone say one word in a negative sense about Jeff – he was so highly respected around our club and in the community.
“A lot of years have passed since we were on that board and we had the club, but he was always the same – whenever you saw him there was a big smile … he’s a real loss to our community.”
Dunne is survived by wife Susan, children Simon, Glen, Reece and Ashlee as well as grandchildren.
His life will be celebrated at a funeral on Friday.
Jeffrey William Dunne
- 14/5/1956 – 14/9/2020