In Memorium
Harry B. Dunbar
May 10, 1925 - October 24, 2006

Harry B. Dunbar

Dr. Harry B. Dunbar passed away peacefully at his West Nyack home on October 24, 2006. This obituary is provided by his family.

Harry Dunbar was born in Mineola, NY, on Mother's Day, May 10, 1925. He was the son of Rev. S. N. Dunbar and Elma Russell-Brown Dunbar. He attended the public schools in various small towns in upstate New York where his father served as a minister until graduating from Tappan Zee High School where he received his regents diploma of which he was quite proud and often said changed his life. After high school he served in the Army in World War II in France where his high school French served him well. Upon his return to the United States he enrolled in New York University where he joined the Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc. There he earned his bachelor's and master's degrees and then spent 1959 in France in order to write his dissertation. He finally earned his Ph.D. from NYU in 1961.

He moved to Rockland County first living in Spring Valley, NY, and then West Nyack, NY. He taught French at Nanuet Jr.-Sr. High School, in Nanuet, NY, until 1965 when he went on to NYC Technical College in Brooklyn, NY, where he became Dean of Students. In 1981 he became Dean of Evening Programs at Bergen Community College. He retired in 1992 after becoming Dean of Faculty.

In retirement Harry wrote several books including his memoir, A Brother Like Me. He also edited a Web site for books by or about blacks, Dunbar on Black Books. He continued his activities with Alpha Phi Alpha fraternity as a founding member of the Eta Chi Lambda chapter in Rockland County, NY. He was a very active member of the United Methodist Church of New City.

Harry passed away peacefully at his West Nyack home, as had been his wish, on October 24, 2006. His loyal and devoted wife was with him at his passing.

He is survived by his wife, the former Cora Charlene Whitlow; his sisters Louise Dunbar Robbins, Catherine Dunbar Estwick, and Ida Dunbar DeLoatch; his brother, Henry S. Dunbar; his daughter, Nona; and several nieces and a nephew.

Memorial contributions may be made to either of two charities:

  • New York University, Attn: Alan Shapiro, Director of Gift Planning, 25 West Fourth Street, 4th Floor, New York, NY, 10012.
  • The H.B. Dunbar Scholarship of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity. Checks should be made payable to Eta Chi Lambda Community Service Fund, Inc., and may be sent to: Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Eta Chi Lambda Community Service Fund, Inc., PO Box 1255, New City, NY 10956.

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