Jessie Lou (Koch) Dunnack

January 10, 1931 ~ October 20, 2021 (age 90)


It is with great sadness that we announce the passing of our mother, Jessie Lou Dunnack, at age 90.

Jessie was born on Jan. 10, 1931 in New Iberia, Louisiana to Ruby and Charles Arthur Koch. She was the third child after brothers Charles and Noel and before sister Mildred.

Jessie attended hairdressing school after high school, but that career was diverted when she met the love of her life, her future husband, Bob, at the fruit stand next door to her home.  Bob (and two brothers all from Connecticut) were playing pro baseball for the Pelicans, a farm team of the Pittsburgh Pirates and all met and married girls from New Iberia and brought them home to settle down and raise families when they ended their baseball careers.

Bob and Jessie raised 5 children at the Dunnack Family farm in Mansfield as well as cared for Bob’s father at their home until his passing at 93 years of age.  After raising their family, they raised three grandchildren, as well.  

Jessie was the hardest working person we knew and set a very high bar for us all.  She worked at American Screw Company, then Electro-Motive until both firms moved from Willimantic.  Jessie then had a 20-year career as a stylist with Dutchmaid Fashions eventually becoming eastern Connecticut supervisor.  There were years where she worked two jobs to help support her young family at a time when most women did not even work one job outside of the home.

In 1981 Bob and Jessie purchased LUCKY STRIKE LANES in Mansfield and worked hard to create a family business where kids, adults, couples and seniors could all enjoy the game of Duckpins, attend birthday parties or have fun bowling a few games with friends.  They were inducted into the Connecticut Duckpin Hall of Fame as owners and were proud of that honor.  Jessie could be found still working at the lanes until just a few years ago.  She loved the people and companionship and missed that once she became immobile but did get to enjoy seeing old friends at the lanes in September when she was able to visit for a few hours during the annual Eastern Classic National Tournament at Lucky Strike and we are glad that the bowlers and old friends got to see her, for what would be, the last time.

After Bob’s passing in 2010, Jessie stayed at the family home for 2 ½ years until health issues required her to move into her daughter Deborah’s home in Columbia where she lived for the past 7 ½ years. She was a fiercely independent person so losing that was hard for her, but she still enjoyed going to the casino, when possible, or attending Connecticut Sun games.  Jessie also enjoyed her sports teams, especially the RED SOX, BOSTON CELTICS and both UCONN Men’s and Woman’s Basketball programs and faithfully followed them on TV.

Jessie is survived by daughter, Deborah (Douglas) DelMastro; sons, Robert Jr, Edward, and Richard (Janet); and daughter, Jodi (James) Ouellette; plus 14 grandchildren: Christopher, Justin and Ryan DelMastro, Julie Potter, Colin, Kevin, Robbie, Jesse and Kelly Dunnack, Kaitlyn Boyer, Melisa Garcia, Tyler Rowett, Jr and Roxanne and Cody Ouellette; plus 19 great grandchildren; her sister Mildred; and many nieces and nephews in CT and LA. 

Calling hours will be at Potter Funeral Home, 456 Jackson St., Willimantic on Sunday, October 24, 2021 from 5:00 and 7:00pm with private burial at the convenience of the family in the New Willimantic Cemetery, where she will finally join Bob to continue their love story.

In lieu of flowers, donations may be made in Jessie’s name to the Columbia Volunteer Fire Department.


Calling Hours
October 24, 2021

5:00 PM to 7:00 PM
Potter Funeral Home
456 Jackson Street
Willimantic, CT 06226


Columbia Volunteer Fire Dept.
167 Rte. 66, Columbia CT 06237

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