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Old 05-12-2009, 02:26 PM
GyBill GyBill is offline
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Dr. Fred Dunbar, 72, Oklahoma City, OK

Dr. Fred Dunbar, college professor and Oklahoma City University Sports Hall of Fame inductee, died of distal esophageal cancer early Friday, May 8, 2009 at his home in Oklahoma City. He was 72. Fred, one of four children was born September 20, 1936 and was raised in Piedmont, Oklahoma. He was an exceptional baseball and basketball player. He started his athletic career shooting hoops through the twelve-inch metal band of an orange crate that his dad, Moyer Haywood Scarberry Pettibone Dunbar, an athlete himself, had nailed to a telephone post. His mother, Louise Curry Dunbar, had been an athlete also, having been the only female on the boys' high school baseball team in Harrah, Oklahoma. Her team included the Waner brothers, Paul and Lloyd, or as they were known "Big Poison" and "Little Poison," who were later inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame. He was the first All State athlete from Piedmont. He won the honors in basketball and baseball. At a time when the OCU basketball team was a Division 1 powerhouse, Dunbar was given a full scholarship, becoming a sharp shooter for renowned Coach Abe Lemons. The basketball teams traveled across the nation, winning, and were consistently listed among the top twenty teams nationally. In spring his joy turned to baseball and getting out of the field house. In 1956 Fred led the team in hitting with a .408 average and pitching with ten wins and two losses. When not pitching, Fred played center field. He had an excellent fastball and had a reputation for throwing out base runners from the outfield. He was the leading hitter and pitcher for three seasons in baseball under Coach Paul Hansen. One of the sweetest sounds, he said, was hearing his fastball hit the catcher's mitt. He played professional baseball with the Milwaukee Braves organization (Class A) in 1958-1959, until he tore his rotator cuff. He entered the Marine Corps, stationed in Quantico, Virginia, where he played for the USMC basketball, baseball and football teams. He married his high school girlfriend, Linda Rose, and upon returning to Oklahoma, they moved to Yukon and started a family of four children. He became a teacher, a career he never regretted, head basketball coach and assistant baseball coach for Putnam City High School. Eventually he moved to El Reno Junior College (now Redlands Community College) to become a history and psychology professor and basketball coach and began work on his doctorate. He wrote a book about the life of the Oklahoma union leader Peter Hanraty, Champion of the Working Man. Upon retirement, Dunbar maintained his involvement in the activities he loved: hunting, jogging, athletics, traveling, spending time with his children and grandchildren, reading, writing, political activities and being in nature. He was a wonderful storyteller and became known among his friends and family for his "Red Dirt Tour," which was a colorful, entertaining and historical journey around Piedmont and the surrounding area. In 2001, he was hired by the College of Santa Fe in New Mexico to start their Native American Studies program and teach history and psychology. Home for the summer of 2002, he met and fell in love with Helen Hart Taylor of Oklahoma City, asking her to marry him the first day he met her. He said his prayers had come true to find the love of his life. They married on the anniversary of their meeting, July 27, 2003, in the glass cathedral at Bella Vista with Ray and Sue Gilbert as attendants and family nearby. In 2006, Fred was honored to be inducted into the Oklahoma City University Sports Hall of Fame, an award that he cherished. He was a member of the Mayflower Church of Oklahoma and a friend of Bill W. He is survived by his wife, Helen Hart Taylor his four children, Dayna, Darron, Dustin, Debi Mahoney, Dan Mahoney granddaughters, Danielle and Kieran Mahoney the mother of his children, Linda Rose Dunbar his brother, Maurice V., a 33rd degree Scottish Rite Mason sisters, Roxanne Dunbar-Ortiz, Ph.D. and Barbara McNary, Ph.D. also Denise and Bruce Klein, AAL, Carley, Chuck, Molly, Miley Hart Baxter, Dr. Lisa Taylor, Michael Couch, Jessica and Emily Couch. A celebration of his life will be held Wednesday, May 13, at 11am at the Mayflower Congregational Church, 3901 Northwest 63rd, Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, (405) 842-8897. Donations may be made to the charity of your choice or Oklahoma University Medical Research Foundation for Cancer Research.

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