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Community remembers Donal Dunbar, community servant

Community servants don’t necessarily have the time; they just have the heart.

Donal Dunbar had the heart.

Dunbar’s death on Sunday marked the passing of one of Troy’s most community-minded citizens. He left his handprint on all areas of the community. He was involved in local businesses, public service, civic organizations, charitable organizations and was a pillar in his church.

Dunbar would have celebrated his 90th birthday next month, so his involvement in the community had been limited in recent years, but his influence continues to be strong.

“Donal Dunbar was someone I looked up to,” said former Troy Mayor Jimmy Lunsford. “He was highly respected for his commitment to our community by all who knew him. Donal Dunbar gave unselfishly of himself to his community in many ways. He made Troy a better place for us to live.”

Jim O’Neal and Dunbar were friends in high school and O’Neal remembers him as an upbeat and “always a pleasure to be around.”

“Growing up, Donal was always available to help out in any way and he continued to be that way,” O’Neal said. “He was very faithful to his church, First Baptist. He served on the property committee and I remember the yeoman’s work he did. He was always there to make sure the work was done correctly.”

O’Neal said whatever his friend did, he made sure it was done the right way and he saw it to fruition.
“Donal loved his family and he always included them in whatever he was doing,” he said. “Donal was devoted to his family. He was a family man and a good man.”

Charles Meeks and Dunbar were friends for more than 50 years, so Meeks had the opportunity to also know Dunbar in a more personal way.

However, he said Dunbar the friend was not really different from Dunbar the community servant.

“As a friend, Donal was supportive; he was dependable and he could be counted on for whatever the needs were,” Meeks said. “He cared about people and was always willing to do what must be done to make circumstances better for others.”

Anyone who knew Donal Dunbar could not discount his service to the Troy community.

However, Marvin Dillard painted a more distinct picture of Dunbar.

“Donal was a true Southern gentleman,” Dillard said. “He was an honorable man. He was a man that you could count on, always. Whatever he was doing, he did to the best of his abilities. He was loyal to his church. He devoted his time and his talents to First Baptist, just as he did to the community.

“Donal’s primary motive in life was service. He wanted to make his community a better place to live, if he could. And Donal Dunbar did make Troy a better place to live.”

Dunbar was involved locally in the management of Troy Veneer and Crate Company, and Dunbar Mining Company. He was president and manager of the Alabama Warehouse Company in Troy.

His community service included the Troy Rotary Club, Troy Chamber of Commerce, Troy Planning Committee, Citizens Advisory Committee of Troy, Pike County United Appeal, Pike Pioneer Museum, American Legion Post 70, South Central Girl Scout Council and the Alabama-Florida Council, Boy Scouts of America.

Dunbar was a faithful member of First Baptist Church of Troy. He was a member of the Baraccca Sunday School Class and a duly elected deacon and a past chairman of the Board of Deacons.

He and his wife, Sara Lee Dunbar, have three children, three grandchildren and one great-grandchild.