Leslie Eugene Dunlap Jr., 88, Austin

Published 10:17 am Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Leslie Eugene (“Gene”) Dunlap Jr., 88, of Austin, Minn., passed away on Saturday, Jan. 12, 2013, at the Good Samaritan Society Home in Albert Lea, Minn.

Leslie E. Dunlap

Gene was born on June 2, 1924, in Washington, Iowa, to Leslie Sr. and Gladys Dunlap. He attended Washington schools and junior college until he was drafted (the draft notice was signed by his father) into World War II. He served in the Army from February 1943 through October 1945, where he was a staff sergeant in the Americal Division in the South Pacific Theatre. During the Battle of Bougainville, he was wounded and received a Purple Heart and was awarded a Bronze Star medal for heroism.

Gene graduated from Iowa State Teachers College in Cedar Falls, Iowa, in 1949 and began teaching elementary strings and band in Austin that same year. After working summers on his master’s degree at ISTC, in 1962 he switched to teaching K-6 elementary classroom music, retiring from the Austin Public Schools in 1984. Back in the days of community bands, parades and the local Bandshell concerts, Gene was the band director. He and his wife, Marge, were founding members of the Austin Symphony Orchestra, with Gene playing bassoon for many years.

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Church commitment was very important to Gene, and he served as choir director over the many years for the Episcopal, Presbyterian, Methodist and most recently, Our Saviors Lutheran Church, where he was very involved.

Survivors include his wife of 60 years, Marjorie (nee Benedict); daughters Kathryn (Jerry) Brandt of Lake Villa, Ill., and Carol Westrum of Minneapolis; grandson Chad Westrum of Sioux Falls, S.D.; and granddaughter Kaycie Dunlap of Minneapolis; along with two great-grandchildren. His sister, Shirley (Kimball) Gates, resides in Hopkinton, Iowa, and brother-in-law, Edwin Benedict, in Charles City, Iowa. There also several nieces and nephews.

A memorial service will be held at 11 a.m. on Friday, Jan. 18, 2013, at Our Savior’s Lutheran Church, 1600 W. Oakland Ave., Austin, with the Rev. Glenn Monson officiating. Arrangements are being made by the Clasen-Jordan Mortuary. Memorials may be sent to The Good Samaritan Society of Albert Lea, Our Savior’s Lutheran Church of Austin or the Austin Symphony Orchestra.