Laura Dean Bennett and
Who is this “Mr. Painter” guy that people are talking about?
Well, his name is Billy Dunz, and he took a long journey to find his way “home.”
His dad, William Dunz, Sr., was born in Indianapolis, Indiana. When he was nine years old, his mother married Levi Irvin and moved the family to Marlinton.
Billy’s mom, Clarice Walton Dunz, was born and raised in Hillsboro. She and William were married in 1971 and he moved her to Indianapolis, where they still live today.
“I was born in 1973, graduated from Lawrence Central High School, and stayed in Indianapolis until I was thirty-five years old,” Billy said.
“I moved to Marlinton in 2009. I always felt like West Virginia was home. We came here for a month every year on vacation when we were kids to visit my grandmother and Bobby Dunz and his family.
“I always hated going back to the city.”
He knew where he wanted to be and, three years after he graduated high school, he found his career.
“I started painting in February of 1994, and I’ve been painting ever since,” Billy said.
“I worked with Doug Hobbs for eight years, and he taught me everything about painting. He made me the painter I am today.
“Doug taught me the most important thing about painting is prep and details – and to also go beyond the quality of work that you do.
“I’ve been painting for almost thirty years, and I started my own business, Mr. Painter, in 2011.”
As “Mr. Painter,” he has really spruced things up around here.
“I painted ninety percent of the interior of the courthouse,” Billy said. “I painted the exterior of the Pearl S. Buck Birthplace and the interior of Pocahontas IGA.
“I’ve also painted a lot of homes – from Marlinton to Snowshow to Lewisburg, and sometimes a little further out.”
Mr. Painter takes on interior and exterior paint jobs, and will even put epoxy on your garage floor.
“I’ve done commercial painting, from the exterior of a warehouse to the interior of companies,” he said.
“The one thing I like about painting is meeting new people. Living here for thirteen years, I have met a lot of people through painting. It’s personal here, because when you meet someone, you usually see them again.
“When I worked for someone in the city, you never saw them again unless you were called back to do more work.”
While his favorite thing about painting is meeting new people, his favorite jobs involve historic buildings.
“Painting the interior of the courthouse and the exterior of the Pearl S. Buck home were exciting jobs,” Billy said.
“I worked with Doug Hobbs on a historic home in Indianapolis. It was a couple houses down from where President Benjamin Harrison lived before he became president.
“We were stripping wallpaper from the ceiling and when we pulled it off, there was a mural on the ceiling. It was beautiful. The job turned into more of a restoration project than painting. I learned a lot on that job. That was my favorite.”
Dunz met a lot of famous people when he lived in Indianapolis – race car drivers, football players and a couple of TV personalities. But it wasn’t enough to make him stay.
“Nothing is better than being here in West Virginia,” he said.
“This is home, and it will always be home.”
What advice does this professional have to offer to help us take better care of our property?
“Speaking to the homeowners, I would say the exterior of your home is the most important protection for your home,” Dunz said. “When you see paint peeling or bare wood showing, that can do damage to the exterior of the house and even the interior, if water is getting in from cracks. To keep that from happening prime any bare wood, caulk any cracks, and put a finish coat on to protect the home.
“Decks that haven’t been cleaned in years will look black, but they can look like new. All you have to do is power wash them to remove all the dirt. That will also open the pores in the wood so the deck will take the stain.
“Wait twenty-four hours after power washing before applying the stain.”
If you need help with a painting project, you may contact Mr. Painter at 304-618-9420.
According to his previous clients ~ you’ll be glad you did.
Stanley McNeill, of Buckeye, can’t say enough good things about Mr. Painter and the work he did at the McNeill home.
“I would recommend him to anyone,” McNeill said. “He does exceptionally good work. I found him to be honest, hardworking, religious and a true professional”
Billy painted the porches and trim a few months ago. McNeill recently called and asked him to do the porch floors.
“He’s always busy, and I didn’t know if he would have time, but he said he could work in jobs like that,” McNeill said. “He power washed the porch floors one week, and came by a week later to put on the redwood stain. They look wonderful.”
The staff at the Pocahontas County Clerk’s office observed him at work when he painted the interior of the courthouse. They had this to say:
“Anyone can put paint on a wall but not everyone is a painter. Billy is skilled at painting, his work is efficient, clean and unblemished. He is courteous, conscientious, trustworthy and will not leave a mess.
“He is the passionate Mr. Painter,” they said.
Mr. Painter is also passionate about family and faith. He and his wife, Penny Maddy Dunz, will celebrate their first anniversary in June. He is a member of First Baptist Church-Huntersville, where he and Penny attend services.
He has a 21 year old son, Max, and a 17 year old daughter, Magic, who is a student at Pocahontas County High School. His sister, Tammy Olson, and his two nieces, Alexis and Alyssa, still live in Indianapolis, Indiana.