Alan Dunn, the owner of J.W. Goodson’s beauty salon on Broadway, made a lot of friends in his more than three decades as a hair stylist.
A couple hundred people, including longtime clients who felt like family, recently gathered at the salon with employees and Dunn’s relatives to mourn and celebrate the life of the man who, at age 62, had a sudden stroke and died Christmas day.
Dunn’s sister, Beverly “BJ” Dunn of Maryland, was moved to see the turnout of supporters who shared stories with common threads about the generosity of the businessman. She called her brother an unsung hero, someone who quietly helped anyone who needed help.
“The stories that have come out since his passing … He helped clients, vendors, employees, neighbors, absolutely anyone who needed a helping hand,” she said. “Nobody knew all the things he was doing to help others, from getting groceries for his neighbors on a regular basis to loaning someone his car … and he didn’t want anything in return.”
J.W. Goodson’s at 2205 E. Broadway was Dunn’s passion, according to those who knew him best. He was there every day, always smiling and entertaining clients.
“He was an incredibly funny man, and that was part of the success of the business — people were so drawn to him,” BJ Dunn said. “The service was excellent and he hired the best people and everybody just gravitated toward him. He was fun to be near. He was something special.”
She noted that it’s important to the family to see the salon stay in business.
“Everyone who worked there and came there was his family, and he just so wanted that to carry on,” she said, adding that one of the stylists, Walter Farfan, will hopefully take the helm because she believes that’s what her brother would have wanted.
Farfan, who has worked at the salon for more than 15 years, called Dunn his best friend and “the most loving, caring man in the Long Beach community.” He said Dunn was a workaholic who knew how to make clients feel special, valuable and important.
Dunn, who was born on Aug. 10, 1956, in San Diego, to parents Helen Dunn Heflin and Robert Dunn, was raised in a military family that moved from state to state. California was known as his favorite place though, and he lived in Long Beach for most of his adult life.
He is survived by his longtime partner, David Hanley; his sister BJ Dunn; and brothers Bob and Ken Dunn.
Dunn loved life, and would say “‘It doesn’t get better than this,’ when he’d hear birds singing in the morning,” Farfan said.