They are a fifth-generation Chelsea family that has been involved in every aspect of this city.
Bernice “Neecy” Dunn, current and reigning matriarch of the well-known Dunn family of Chelsea, just turned 91. Mrs. Dunn is not slowing down one bit. She is a regular volunteer at the Chelsea Soldiers Home, once again setting an example for a family that is intent on carrying on her legacy of giving and being a friend to all.
Jimmy Dunn, a son and a U.S. Navy veteran, is a dedicated business owner who founded Neecy Mechanical 32 years ago, proudly naming the company after his mother.
Jimmy grew the company from working out of his van to now working on one of the major projects in Chelsea, a new hotel springing up on Second Street.
The family recently gathered at the hotel construction site where they stood near the company sign, Neecy Mechanical Inc., Plumbing and Sprinkler. It was a celebration of sorts on a cold winter day, a nod to ernice “Neecy” Dunn for all she has meant to her family, and to Jimmy Dunn, a true American success story who has worked hard all his life, from his school days at Northeast Vocational where he specialized in sheet metal, to his service in the U.S. Navy as a catapult operator, to his decision to devote his mechanical knowledge to pursue a career in the plumbing trades.
“We all love the city of Chelsea and fell particularly proud to be able to live and work in this city,” said Nicole Dunn, the beautiful daughter of Jimmy Dunn who is the office manager at Neecy Mechanical.
Jesse Dunn, Derek Dunn, and Jessica Dunn also have positions at the company that does plumbing and sprinkler fittings.
Helping to build a hotel
Neecy Mechanical is beginning its work at the Second Street site, where a brand new 106-room Hampton Inn will join the other hotels in the city. The hotel is expected to be completed in 2020. It is one of Neecy’s biggest jobs to-date.
“We’re proud to be working on such a large project,” said Nicole Dunn, noting that Neecy previously worked on a 36-unit building in Boston and currently on a 19-unit building in East Boston.
And when it comes to hiring employee, Jimmy Dunn hasn’t forgotten his vocational school roots. He has brought on board several graduates of Northeast Regional to work at his company.
Honoring his mother
Once he founded his company, Jimmy Dunn made an immediate decision to name it in honor of his mother, Bernice.
“Growing up, my father and my mother owned a couple of pieces of property and they called it Neecy Realty,” recalled Jimmy. “It’s a very unique name so I said, ‘one day, I want to name my company after her and honor her by doing that.”
Jimmy said he can’t put a price on the love, support, and guidance he has received from his mother.
“Being so proud of my mother and my city, and having the opportunity to do a big job like the one at the hotel in my own city – going to the site on her 91st birthday, I thought that would be a great way to celebrate the milestone,” said Jimmy.
Dorothy Hamilton, Bernice’s friend and a lifelong Chelsea resident herself, took part in the photo opportunity on Second Street. Interestingly, Dorothy’s grandson, Richard Fallon, works at Neecy Mechanical.
Councillor-at-Large Leo Robinson, a cousin to the Dunn family, also braved the frigid conditions on that day to offer his birthday wishes to Bernice and his congratulations to Jimmy for building such an outstanding company.
“It’s just a great Chelsea family and Bernice is a great lady who symbolizes the goodness of what Chelsea is all about,” said Councillor Robinson.
Bernice Dunn has five sons and four daughters, 22 grandchildren, and 17 great-grandchildren. A son, Patrick Dunn, was an outstanding football player at Chelsea High and president of his class.
Memories of the old Chelsea
and a look ahead to the new
Jimmy Dunn has vivid memories of his days growing up in a home at 61 Crescent Ave., not far from the old Chelsea High School building.
He was a just a kid when the entire city almost burnt down in the Chelsea Fire in October, 1973.
“I remember being where the new train stop is, where the City Yard used to be, and looking at the bricks on the buildings on Arlington Street, and they were actually melting because the fire was so hot,” said Dunn. “The wind was crazy. The firefighters did a great job because it looked like the whole city was going to go up in flames. They say if the Williams School wasn’t there, the fire would have taken everything.”
Jimmy Dunn said the city made significant strides in development and stature under former City Manager Jay Ash.
“The city is moving in the right direction and I see a bright future under [City Manager] Tom Ambrosino,” said Jimmy.
Hard work pays off
at Neecy Mechanical
Nicole Dunn said any story about her father has to pay tribute to his incredible work ethic. Jimmy grew up working next to his father and raised his own family working next to him.
“When I think of my father, I have to touch on his work ethic, how hard he works, what a good leader he is, and how much he’s guided all of us,” said Nicole.
According to Jimmy Dunn, his mother Bernice’s family arrived here via Nova Scotia. His father Joseph’s family came here through Ellis Island.
“My father lived on Blossom Street and my mother lived on Albion Place,” said Jimmy. “They were married for 50 years.”
Bernice Dunn was a cafeteria worker in the city of Chelsea. Joseph Dunn worked in the boiler room for the Chelsea School Department.
Today Jimmy Dunn and his family are carrying on that legacy of hard work, dependability, loyalty, trustworthiness, and pride at Neecy Mechanical, a fitting tribute to Bernice “Neecy” Dunn, for whom this company is proudly named.