BOB(Mrs. Doris) DUNBAR
Name: BOB(Mrs. Doris) DUNBAR
Entry Date: 44
Exit Date: 45
1944, Puerto Princessa, Palawan, Phillipines. Back, L-R: Richard Bates, G.F. Kreitz, Warren Ponto, Bob Dunbar, Jamnik, Clayton Stokes, Yates. Front, L-R: Walter Martell, Henry Muters, Vincent Marimpietri, Carl Bartelt, J.C. White
~2000, Bob and Doris Dunbar
“Bob Dunbar grew up in Cheyenne, Wyoming, although he was born in Park City, Utah. He graduated from Cheyenne High School in 1940. His parents moved to Denver the year he graduated, and since that time he called Denver and Colorado his home, but he did not live there long. The fall after graduating, Bob entered the
University of Colorado majoring in chemical engineering, and continued through his sophomore year before joining the Navy. Civilian Pilot Training was being offered at the Boulder Airport and Bob was encouraged to take the training after one student had to drop out because of a football injury. He enrolled in the Naval Aviation Flight Training in the summer of 1942. So he learned to fly!
The U.S. Navy Air Force must have been glad to get him – a straight A studentwho already had learned to fly. Bob trained at Livermore, California and Corpus Christi, Texas. He was commissioned Ensign in April, 1943. After operational training in PBYs at San Diego, he put in a tour of duty as copilot-navigator in VP12, the
“”Black Cat”” squadron of PBY5A amphibians. The crew flew TRANSPAC to Kaneohe, Hawaii, and after a brief stay at Midway, went through the Bougainville campaign.
They returned to Los Alamos, California on an escort carrier in the fall of 1944. Bob then went to Hutchinson, Kansas, to be checked out as PPC (Patrol Plane Commander) in B-24s (the Navy called them PB4Ys). He took a crew of 12 men through operational training at Jacksonville, Florida and at Kearny Mesa, near San Diego. Then he was on his way for a second tour of duty. The crew picked up a new PB4Y2 and did the TRANSPAC to Kanehoe. They were sent to VPB111stationed at Puerto Princessa on Palawan in the Phillipines where they patrolled the South China Sea from Hong Kong to Singapore and across Borneo to the Celebes Sea. Japan surrendered when the crew was on Palawan.
The crew returned to the U.S., arriving at Floyd Bennet Field, N.Y. on Thanksgiving Day, 1945, a very appropriate day. Bob returned to Boulder to finish his bachelor’s degree in chemical engineering at C.U. Following his graduation with high honors in 1947 he and Doris Walker, a C.U. freshman, were married in her home town of Pierce, CO. They came East on their honeymoon and Bob started his first job with American Cyanamid Co. in Bound Brook, N.J. A daughter, Jane, was born in 1949. They lived in New Jersey for 37 years and Bob changed jobs twice but the couple remained in their home in Martinsville, which Bob designed and helped to build.
Retirement came in 1984 when Bob and Doris moved to Pennsylvania, where their daughter, then married and with two daughters, had located. Son-in-law Chris Weidner had attended Lutheran Theological Seminary and was assigned to a church in Reading. The Dunbars had started to build a lakeside vacation home in the Poconos and finally moved there permanently in 1988, shortly after retirement. Bob designed theirhome and did most of the finishing, including plumbing, heating, electrical and carpentry. Doris was his helper and together they built a fieldstone chimney and fireplace.
By chance, Bob learned through a Navy friend who saw it in a magazine that his squadron was having a reunion in Indianapolis in 1989. He and Doris attended that reunion. After 40 plus years, Bob did not recognize some of his squadron mates and evensome of his crew and likewise, many did they recognize him. Tearful embraces and warm handshakes accompanied their recollections of names and faces and experiences. Several squadron reunions were attended after that by Bob and Doris, and the crew started having reunions every other year. Often, Bob’s crew got the prize for having the most crew members present at the squadron gatherings. At the Colorado Springs reunion in 1993, seven were present out of the 12 crew members.
As for memorable events, I can remember the crew discussing many events and anecdotes, but fear of inaccuracy prevents me, his wife, from mentioning any here. Most memorable for me was the time the crew assembled in our living room in the Poconos at a reunion and one of the crew said, “”Well, I just want to thank you, Dunbar, for bringing us all home safely.”” They quickly got over calling him “”Mr. Dunbar”” as we met at
We visited a member of Bob’s crew and his wife, Walter and Barbara Martel, while we were in Tuscon, AZ one winter. Walter took Bob for a ride in his airplane, which he had learned to fly in his retirement. When they returned, Walter commented to me that he was happy and proud to be able to pilot his former PPC. Bob was
persuaded to take the controls for a take-off but declined the landing. During Bob’s career as a chemical engineer, there were some extracurricularactivities that he enjoyed. He served a three-year term on the
Bridgewater-Raritan Board of Education, two years on the Bridgewater Planning Board, and five years as
treasurer of the Martinsville United Methodist Church. He and Doris traveled several times to Europe and Great Britain, to Venezuela, Japan, and Nova Scotia.
After retirement, the Dunbars wrote a genealogy book on Doris’ Welsh ancestors who migrated from the coal regions of Pennsylvania to Golden, Colorado. After that, Bob wrote several books on different branches of his family. He loved researching his ancestors in the Archives Building in Philadelphia and at libraries and historical societies all over the country. He and Doris have tramped around cemeteries in Nova Scotia and in Scotland. Bob felt close to his ancestors when the two of them visited the little fishing village of Dunbar, Scotland, and saw the remains of Dunbar Castle.
After about ten years living by a lake in the Poconos, where Bob sailed in the summer and his grandchildren ice skated in the winter, they decided to move to a lifecare retirement community, Brittany Pointe Estates in Lansdale, Pa. in December, 1997. Bob was active there as a member of the bridge group, as treasurer for two years of the residents’ association, and as a member of the inhouse computer programming team. He
helped persons having problems with their personal computers. In addition, he served as financial secretary and auditor of Christ United Methodist Church, and volunteered to mow the church’s ball field (on a tractor) once a week during the summer. He continued his genealogical research and writing.
Bob died January 9, 2002, of lung complications, probably accented by his many years working with asbestos. Doris continues to reside at Brittany Pointe where she is active and enjoys being near her family.
Son-in-law Chris Weidner is a Lutheran pastor; Jane works for KenCrest, a Lutheran agency servicing persons with developmental problems; Sarah is in graduate architectural school at Pennsylvania
University and works part time for an architectural firm in Philadelphia; and Emily is a sophomore at
Connecticut College in New London, CT. END”