Life Story Funeral Homes®
The exclusive providers of the Life Story Experience


Life Story Funeral Homes®
The exclusive providers of the Life Story Experience

Robert Douglas Dunbar

April 28, 2024
Kalamazoo, MI




Bob Dunbar has died at the age of 93 - he was an extraordinary husband, father, brother, son, friend, Christian, community leader, and athlete.

He was beloved by all who knew him. A devoted husband to his dear wife, Louise; a dedicated and caring, rock of a father for his children, Bud Dunbar, Kathryn Trotsky, Stuart Dunbar, and their spouses, Caroline, John, Mary, Virginia and Lisa; a loving son to his father, Willis F. Dunbar (Doc), and mother, Carita Clark Dunbar; a dear brother to his sister Pat Gregg, a dear friend and support, to his extended family, especially Chip and Dahne Morgan, Elsa Luker, Bill Gregg, Joel Gregg, Jenny, Jeffrey, and James Luker, Lee Politis, Robin, Tracy, and Todd Morgan, and their families. He was just "Bebop" to his beloved grandchildren, Hunter, Liza, Will, and Maxx, and blessed to welcome his great grandchildren, Elora, Josie, and William.

He loved kids and dogs and fresh air and sunshine and beaches and searching for Petoskey stones and long walks. He was never happier than when he was lost with friends and the family dog on some cross-country ski trail in the woods of northern Michigan, or playing cards next to the fire in the cabin which he built with his son, Bud, or playing tennis with his daughter, Katie, or singing country songs with his son, Stu, and a guitar, or building sand castles and running in and out of the waves with his grandkids at their summer home in Quiogue.

He was born and raised in Kalamazoo. An avid athlete, he attended State High and somehow earned 16 varsity letters in football, basketball, baseball, and tennis. He won the tennis state championship in doubles and played in the nationals at Stowe stadium. He graduated from the University of Michigan and loved U of M football games. He served two years in the US Marines, never saw action, but appreciated the self discipline he developed there. Returning to U of M from boot camp he was in the "best shape of his life", when he met "a cute co-ed with a toe in step".

Louise Morgan and he were married in 1952. His first job was with Stanley Works in Connecticut. They bought their first home in New Britain, CT and started a family. In 1961 he and Louise moved their young family back to his hometown of Kalamazoo, where he worked in the roadway safety industry for most of his career, eventually becoming the president of the national association for traffic control safety which lead to the adoption of important highway safety standards. In 1986, he followed an opportunity in Phoenix, AZ and enjoyed the new world and the many friends he and Louise discovered there. Three years later they returned to Kalamazoo, where he taught business at Western Michigan University before retiring.

In his retired years he and Louise traveled to many parts of the world, including Scotland, Portugal, Egypt, Turkey, Peru, Israel, Greece and China. He would carefully research and plan these journeys to discover and experience the history, culture, and geography of each.

He was always proud of his Kalamazoo heritage. Like his father before him, he served on the city commission as Vice Mayor. He was co-chair of Kalamazoo 2000, president of Kiwanis Club in 1984-85, and served on many civic organizations over the years. He loved St Luke's Episcopal Church. The church nurtured his faith in the love of God and inspired his love of music. As a boy, he sang in the church choir and always had a song on the tip of his tongue. Later in life he served on the vestry. He supported Louise in her work with the church to create Partners in Transition, a charity that helps people in need transition to new housing.

If you ask his family or friends who Bob really was, you will get a warm smile. A good bridge player knows where every card is, communicates with his partner, does what he says he will do, and has a lot of fun along the way. As a husband, father, and friend, Bob was that good bridge player.

His children wish to acknowledge the compassionate care and friendship provided by so many good souls in his later years, especially Lorna Fenner and Dorothy Endres, Woodside staff at Friendship Village, Seasons of Danvers and Care Dimensions (Hospice of the North Shore) in Massachusetts where his children were blessed to share his final days together reading, singing and sharing memories. In lieu of flowers, a gift in Bob's name to Care Dimensions (Danvers, MA), Partners in Transition, St Lukes, or a favorite Kalamazoo charity would be an honor.

A memorial service for Bob will be held at St. Lukes Episcopal Church in Kalamazoo on May 17th, 2024 at 11:00am.