Sylvia Wakefield Dunbar passed away in her home at the age of 92 on Aug. 28, 2022. She was the daughter of Clifford and Mary Wakefield, born on May 5, 1930, in Elma, Washington, where she lived with her family for several years before moving to Aberdeen.
She was a member of the Aberdeen High School Class of 1948 and graduated from Grays Harbor College in 1951. Sylvia married John Charles Dunbar in 1951 and together they raised five children in the family home on Heron Street and in Central Park.
Sylvia was a supportive and involved mother, grandmother and great-grandmother, who loved her family deeply. She was the memory keeper, encourager, role model and strategist. From beach picnics to family reunions, she was the planner-organizer.
Sylvia led a life of service in her community: PTA president, Post Office Auxiliary, Girl Scout leader, statistician for bowling leagues and slow-pitch teams, and planning fundraisers and school carnivals.
She was a voracious lover of words, poetry, stories and books, who enjoyed sharing memorized poems and quotations from classics with her family.
One of her favorite quotes is from Invictus by William Ernest Henley: “I am the master of my fate: I am the captain of my soul.”
Every day she refused to quit until she had solved The Daily World’s crossword and anagram puzzles. She has passed on that love of words and puzzle-solving to many in her family.
Sylvia was a Christian with a strong sense of justice, whose actions spoke louder than her words. She became the silent organizer in the neighborhood whenever a family needed help: everything from meals and clothing to child care. She fed lunches to neighborhood kids whose families were on hard times. In addition, she took care of her ailing great-grandmother for years, while teaching her children strength of character, compassion and sense of duty.
Her family was her focus but occasionally she worked outside the home. From her first job at Bantam Grocery to her last working at the Hoquiam Post Office as a rural route driver, she demonstrated pride in a job well done.
Throughout her life, she had a teasing, witty sense of humor. When one of her children would questions her behavior, she would reply, “You know, I’m the Mom.”
She is preceded in death by her parents, husband John Dunbar, sisters MaryLu Dale and Althea Aumick, granddaughter Megan Maresh and granddaughter Jenna Ivins.
She is survived by her children Terri McGuire (Duane), Janet Wilson (Walter), Randi Dunbar, Kevin Dunbar (Kelly) and Kay Phelps (Jeff). She is also survived by her brother, Larry Wakefield (Sharon) of Olympia, her sister Nancy Baker of Amarillo, seven grandchildren: Christine Greninger, Ryan McGuire, Erin McGuire, Ken Dunbar, Stephanie Brown, Jerrod Phelps and Jorey Phelps and eight great-grandchildren.
A family celebration of Syvlia’s life was held at the beach, which has always been a favorite family gathering place, on Friday, Sept. 9, 2022.