George's Story

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My dad, our papa, George Dunavin was independent up until the last week of his life. Six days shy of his 95th birthday, he lived his life his way. Born in Hulbert, Okla., on Aug. 26, 1922, the family moved to Tahlequah early in his life. His father's real estate office was the old Dawes Commission office above today's Meigs Jewelry store. He graduated from Bagley High School in Tahlequah.

George is a veteran of both WWII and the Korean wars. He chuckled telling the story of how he and a couple of friends went downtown to enlist for WWII; dad was the only one who passed his physical exam. That's when his friends just waved bye, he said. He used to say he was in long enough that he joined the Army Air Corp and came out of the U.S. Air Force.

Dad served in the Pacific Islands on Tarawa and Ie Shima as a supervisor for Air Traffic Control. Ie Shima had three landing strips; he landed General MacArthur and the plane of Emperor Hirohito during the beginning of surrender proceedings. He was also classified as a sharp shooter. He was recalled into service for Korea as an instructor for ATC. When discharged, he returned to his beloved Cherokee County and Tahlequah.

He married Marie Teters in a union that lasted for 35 years. Both never remarried. They and their son Tom moved to California in the 1950s where he began a lifelong career with Allstate Insurance Company as a senior claims adjustor. I, Connie, was born in Los Angles and dad again was missing Cherokee County. He requested a transfer to get back to Oklahoma, and took the closest one with Allstate in 1959 in Fort Worth, Texas.

In 1961, Allstate called him and said there was an opening in Tulsa, Okla. We moved home to Cherokee County. He finally settled in the Muskogee office at the time when Allstate worked out of Sears Department Store. He traveled to disaster sites, one being Hurricane Camille.

Dad owned two farms, both with approximately 200 acres: One in the Shady Grove area which he sold in the mid-1970s and then purchased the old Judge Miller place on East Allen Road. Dad loved his Saturday morning trips to town and having coffee at a few selected coffee shops." He loved cooking and taught his granddaughters how to make omelets. Within the last couple of years, he taught one of his caregivers (who was getting married) how to make gravy and fried chicken. He was a devout Democrat who loved talking politics, up until the week he passed.

After retirement from Allstate, he found a passion for golf and, in 1994, had a stroke while playing his second round of 18 holes at Cherry Springs. His stroke was the end of his golf game, but not the end of his game of life. He was in control of what he did and was going to do up until the end, when he again decided he was ready to move his home into the heavens.

He had many friends and acquaintances from the old to the young or young at heart in Tahlequah, at Cherokee Elder Care, and his Wisdom Keepers residence. Anyone who knew George had to appreciate his dry wit and humor or not. But he was straight and he was smart. He was one-of-a-kind for sure. His humor will be missed, Heaven, I am sure, is just now getting a peak at it.

George was a member of Bedouin Temple (Shriner), charter member of Benevolent & Protective Order of Elks, The American Legion, DAV, and the Cherokee Nation. George was very proud of his Cherokee heritage, and loved the Cherokee Veterans Center.

He is preceded in death by his son, Tom Dunavin; his parents, A.J (Bud) Dunavin and Amy Potts Dunavin; and his sisters, Neoma LaFevers and Lydia Adams.

He is survived by his daughter, Connie Dunavin of Tahlequah; his granddaughters, Tonia Brown of Tulsa, Whitney of Tahlequah, and Brittany Dunavin of Muskogee; and his great-grandsons, Zachary, Peyton, Joshua and Noah.

Graveside service will take place at Fort Gibson National Cemetery, 1423 Cemetery Road, on Friday, Aug. 25, 2017, 11-11:30 a.m. Viewing will be at Hart Funeral Home in Tahlequah on Thursday, Aug. 24, 10 a.m.-8 p.m.
Published on August 24, 2017
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