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Published: Friday, 2/10/2006

Mechanical firms' CEO was an avid volunteer

Glenn Dunbar, a former president and chief executive officer of Dunbar Mechanical Inc., died of an apparent heart attack Wednesday in Medical University of Ohio Hospitals. He was 91.

Mr. Dunbar, a native of Delta, Ohio, was president and chief executive officer of Dunbar Mechanical for many years until 1972, when he retired from the company and became president and CEO of Dunbar Manufacturing Inc., Swanton, from which he retired in 1987.

Dunbar Mechanical, formerly on Westwood Avenue and now on Reynolds Road, does heating, ventilation, air conditioning, and plumbing work, piping, and heavy machinery installation.

Dunbar Manufacturing, a crane and material handling firm, which also was started by Mr. Dunbar, was sold in 1987.

Mr. Dunbar began his career as a water well contractor in 1936. He operated the former Glenn Dunbar Well Drilling, Plumbing & Heating Co. out of his home in Delta.

In 1946, he merged his company into the other company, and the resulting firm went through a number of name changes over the years, finally becoming Dunbar Mechanical when his son, Harlton "Harley" Dunbar, a third-generation Dunbar, took it over in 1972. Harley Dunbar died in 2005.

Glenn Dunbar was the first president of Dunbar Bros. and remained president until 1970 when he was elected chairman of the board of both Dunbar Bros. and Dunbar-Borton, a plumbing and heating business he started to cover Ann Arbor and Adrian.

"He was extremely creative," his son, Steve, said. "He loved the thrill of creating, starting, and building things. And he loved being involved in whatever he did, including the church and community service."

In a 1986 interview with The Blade, Glenn Dunbar, who was 72 at the time, recalled starting his business in 1936 in tough times and quitting his job at Kroger Co. to go off on his own. He said he wasn't scared.

"There was no danger of the Dunbars going broke," he said. "We didn't have any money anyway."

Mr. Dunbar, who graduated from Delta High School and was a valedictorian of his class, came from a family of well drillers, R.F. Dunbar & Sons. The R.F. stood for his father, Roscoe, and the sons were his brothers, Dale and Delbert. Glenn Dunbar drilled wells until he lost an arm in a drilling accident in 1943.

Mr. Dunbar held several patents related to crane and material handling techniques.

He also was an avid community volunteer, for which he received numerous awards.

Over the years, he served on Delta Village Council and was a board member of the area YMCA. He also served on many Rotary Club of Toledo committees and led a number of other area service organizations, including the Toledo Small Business Association.

A Rotary member of 65 years, Mr. Dunbar assisted in the initiation of the club's Medical Equipment and Supplies Abroad Program in Guatemala in the late 1970s and early 1980s, making numerous trips to Guatemala. He was awarded Rotary's highest honor, the Paul Harris Fellowship.

In his free time. Mr. Dunbar enjoyed sailing on Burt Lake near Indian River, Mich., golfing, playing bridge with friends, and traveling with his wife all over the world.

He was a member of Zion United Methodist Church in South Toledo.

Surviving are his wife of 70 years, Victoria Dunbar, sons, Lee, Steve, David, and Jeff; daughter, Vicki Baney; sister, Amy Puehler; 16 grandchildren, and 25 great-grandchildren.

The body will be in the Coyle Funeral Home after 5 p.m. today. A memorial service will be at 2 p.m. Sunday in Zion United Methodist Church.

The family suggests tributes to the Toledo Rotary Foundation, the church, or the Life Care Fund at Swan Creek Retirement Village.



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