Co-founder of billion-dollar, Dallas-based real estate firm killed in plane crash

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John Kenneth “Den” Dunn, the co-founder of a real estate firm headquartered in Dallas, died July 26 in an airplane crash, The Rainier Companies said Monday.

Dunn joined Tim Nichols in 2003 to create Rainier Capital Management as a platform for real estate investment. The firm has closed in excess of $2.5 billion of investment assets and currently has an operating portfolio valued at more than $1.6 billion, according to the company’s website.

“The Rainier family is deeply saddened by the loss of its co-founder, partner and friend,” said Rainier President and CEO Danny Lovell in a press release. “Our most heartfelt sympathies go to Ken’s family during this unbelievably difficult time. He will be terribly missed.”

The plane Dunn was on, a Bombardier CL 600 jet, crashed shortly after 3 p.m. during a seemingly routine landing at the Truckee Tahoe Airport in northern California, according to the Federal Aviation Administration. Five others died in the crash near Lake Tahoe, according to the Sacramento Bee. The flight originated from Coeur d’Alene, Idaho, according to the Desert Sun.

Dunn had a big personality, “was a dedicated friend to many” and “was never hesitant to contribute his wit, humor and insight on any topic,” the press release said.

“Ken loved to engage people, make them laugh and bring them into his orbit for both business and personal friendship,” the press release said.

Dunn is survived by his wife, son, daughter, stepdaughter, stepson and three grandchildren.

The cause of the plane crash is under investigation.