Elizabeth Mildred “Bette” Dunbar, 99, an Independence native, passed away January 24th in Gunnison, Colorado.
Bette was born in Independence on March 10, 1923, to August and Mildred Baden. She grew up with siblings, Robert Baden (deceased), Sylvia Zwingelberg of Aurora, CO., and Ken Baden of Westminster, CA.
After high school and college, Bette worked for Sinclair Pipeline until marrying Jack Dunbar in 1951. They moved to Stillwater, OK., where Jack attended college, then to Kansas City and St. Louis. When Jack retired, they fell in love with Gunnison during a camping trip. They built a home just north of town and explored the area via car, motorcycle, boat, and snowmobile.
After Jack passed away in 2006, Bette moved into Gunnison to be closer to friends, Mt. Calvary Lutheran Church and the Gunnison Pioneer Museum. She gave her time and money to her church, the museum and senior citizen programs, and she was known for her at least weekly “health food” lunches – a slice of pizza and a beer.
Bette and Jack didn’t have children of their own, but they loved and spoiled their nephews and nieces and those children’s children. In Gunnison, Bette made friends and shared love and laughs with people of all ages, including a baby girl who was named August after Bette’s father.
In addition to her siblings, nieces and nephews, and friends, Bette’s survivors include brother-in-law, Joe and Dorothy Dunbar of Wichita.
A graveside memorial service will begin at 11 am, Friday, March 10th, what would have been Bette’s 100th birthday, at Mount Hope Cemetery in Independence. Memorial donations may be made to Mt. Calvary Lutheran Church Building Repair Fund, 711 N. Main St. Gunnison, CO, 81230, or Gunnison Pioneer Museum, 803 E. Tomichi Ave, Gunnison, CO 81230.