Elaine Doll-Dunn

“I Can”
Words and music by Hank Fridell
with Mrs. Tiffany’s 4th Grade Class
©2005 Hank Fridell

      Elaine Doll-Dunn

I was a cowgirl out on the plains
I rode and I roped and I learned to use my brain
I worked beside my father, admired my mother so
But at chore time my sister had somewhere else to go
After I taught all my dolls to read
I knew the life I was to lead
I’d learn, and teach, and raise a family
I wanted excitement and lots of fun
That’s what I wanted to be …..Yippee!

I Can. On my mirror that’s where I keep my goals
I Can. L. B. R. A. I Learn By Running Around
I Can. Life’s a story and I choose to write my own
I Pray, Ponder, then I Plunge
I know I can….

Overcome–I’ve had to be tough when I knew I was really a weenie
I’m a cancer survivor and my fears I’ve had to tame
Alone I’ve raised up children and it wasn’t easy
I’ve been bucked off horses, don’t give up, forget the pain


Set High Goals–I have run over thirty-five thousand miles
And climbing Kilimanjaro sure was hard
I was Mrs. South Dakota at a young sixty-one
I got my doctorate and one of these days I’ll pay off my credit card


Run On– This story of me it’s not done yet
I have to run The Great Wall and write another book you see
And then there’s my hundred and sixth marathon in New York City
I’m ED3, I can be anything I want to be (chorus)

I’ve got a little book for you
To write down the things you want to do
You just need to pray, ponder, and plunge
And say to yourself … oh yes I Can
And say to yourself … oh yes I Can
Gotta Run…

Elaine Doll-Dunn was born in Hebring, NE in 1937. When Elaine was about to enter third grade her dad came home from WWII after being gone for two years. During her dad’s absence her family faced financial hardships. Her mom did many odd jobs including driving the school bus to help make ends meet. Once her father returned home from war, Elaine had to help with all of the ranch work because there was no money for a hired man and her parents had no sons. One of Elaine’s greatest enjoyments during childhood was being able to ride her horse five miles to school each day.

When Elaine was a young child she taught all her dolls to read and knew that she was meant to be a teacher. Because Elaine always loved school, she got her one-year teaching degree at age seventeen and taught in a country school. Elaine married her childhood sweetheart and moved to France, where her first child was born. She was only married for four years when her husband passed away from cancer, leaving her with three small children under the age of three and pregnant with a fourth.

After her husband died, Elaine moved to her parents’ ranch and began to pursue her college degree. During this difficult time in her life, Elaine developed her motto of “I Can!” Her motto inspired her to continue with her education even though she was raising her children on her own. Although it took many years and lots of hard work, Elaine finally earned her bachelor’s degree at age forty. Yet, Elaine did not stop there. She continued making educational goals for herself. She is the proud owner of a Master’s Degree in Counseling and has recently earned a Ph.D.

Not only does Elaine set educational goals for herself, she also sets financial and physical goals. Her financial goal always remains the same, she wants to pay off her credit card! One of Elaine’s first physical goals was to complete a marathon, which meant she had to run 26.2 miles. At age 40 she ran her first marathon. Even though she passed out at the finish line after completing the marathon, she wanted to continue running. She has run 105 marathons thus far, including 26.2 marathons in the year 2000. Running isn’t Elaine’s only passion. She loves any kind of physical challenge. Elaine has climbed Mt. Kilimanjaro and Devil’s Tower. Though both of these proved to be quite challenging, Elaine kept her “I Can!” attitude and completed both tasks. She still has other physical goals she wants to accomplish. She would like to run the Great Wall in China, and will run the New York City Marathon in April, which will be her 106th marathon.

Elaine’s “I Can!” attitude also helped her to survive a bout with cancer, and encouraged her when competing in the Mrs. South Dakota Pageant in 1998. Even though she says, “It was hard. I had to dance. I can follow a man to Texas dancing, but I cannot dance alone,” she dazzled her way to the title of Mrs. South Dakota in a $52 off the rack dress adorned with $15,000 worth of Black Hills Gold.

Dr. Elaine Doll Dunn, a proud mother of 7, grandmother of 18, and affectionately known as ED3, is an inspiration to us all. We will always think of Elaine when we say, “Oh Yes I Can!”

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