Cover photo for Ernest Leon Dunning's Obituary
Ernest Leon Dunning Profile Photo
1920 Ernest 2021

Ernest Leon Dunning

November 13, 1920 — December 20, 2021

Ernest Leon Dunning, Ph.D., 101, departed this life at 5:00 a.m. Monday December 20, 2021 in Memorial Hospital of Carbondale.

Leon was born November 13, 1920, in the “Sock Bend Hollow” Community of Livingston County near the towns of Joy and Carrsville, Ky, the son of Ernest and Beulah Marrs Dunning.

He received his BSME from the University of Rochester in 1946, his MSME from the University of Kentucky in 1950, and his Ph.D. from the University of Houston in 1967. He served as Chairman of the School of Technology at Southern Illinois University and Dean of the School of Engineering Technology and Engineering at the University of Tennessee. He worked for NASA at the Manned Spacecraft Center, Hughes Aircraft Company and McDonnell Aircraft Corp. He wrote numerous publications, served on multiple committees, and accepted membership into many organizations such American Society of Engineering Education, Who’s Who in Engineering and American Men of Science.

Leon received countless awards throughout his lifetime and career, including several delivered to him on his 100th birthday, when November 13, 2020 was officially declared Leon Dunning Day by the US Congress, the Illinois House of Representatives, and the City of Marion. He also had the distinction of having the E. Leon Dunning Award, named after him, established by SIU and given annually to an outstanding engineering technology senior.

A humble WWII Veteran, he served in the Navy and reserves for 8 years.

On November 16, 1945 he married his one and only love, Juanita, who predeceased. Together they raised two beautiful identical twin daughters of whom Leon was so proud. For all of his accomplishments, his family was the most important. He loved and served them selflessly every moment of his life.

Leon was a faithful follower of Jesus and a member of the First Presbyterian Church of Carterville. When things became difficult he never once complained and his only request from anyone was that they pray for him.

Leon leaves behind his daughters, Janet K. Talbott and Jan Morris; Jan’s husband that he considered a son, James W. Morris; grandchildren, Frank Robert Talbott (Christa), Ernest Lee Talbott (Michelle), Jennifer Aden (Shane, who Leon considered a grandson); and great-grandchildren, Hugo Talbott, Stacia Talbott, Trinity Talbott, Leela Talbott, Solomon Talbott, Theo Talbott, Cyrus Talbott, James Aden (who held a special place in his heart), Aviana Aden and Ancesca Aden.

He joins in heaven his wife, his predeceased grandson who is waiting for him with a fishing pole, James Hunter Morris, his parents, brother, and countless other beloved friends and family members.

Funeral service will be at 11:30 a.m. Thursday, December 23rd, 2021 at Meredith Funeral Home with Mel Bower officiating. Visitation will be from 10:00 to 11:30 a.m. at the funeral home. Memorials may be made to First Presbyterian Church at 822 West Grand, Carterville, IL 62918.

To leave a story or memory of Leon, visit

To order memorial trees in memory of Ernest Leon Dunning, please visit our tree store.

Service Schedule

Past Services

Public Viewing

Thursday, December 23, 2021

10:00 - 11:30 am (Eastern time)

Enter your phone number above to have directions sent via text. Standard text messaging rates apply.

Funeral Service

Thursday, December 23, 2021

11:30am - 12:30 pm (Eastern time)

Enter your phone number above to have directions sent via text. Standard text messaging rates apply.

Enter your phone number above to have directions sent via text. Standard text messaging rates apply.


Photo Gallery

Visits: 39

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the
Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply.

Service map data © OpenStreetMap contributors

Plant A Tree

Plant A Tree

Send With Love

Send With Love