As a youth, he ran track for Powell High School, and was an All-State football player for several years, resulting in a scholarship to the University of Wyoming. At age 14, he lied about his age and was assigned as the smoke chaser on Dead Indian Pass, a temporary fire lookout. He was then assigned to Clay Butte Lookout, where he helped the Forest Service carpenter build the tower, and where he dug 40-foot ditches for copper lines to be hooked to their beds, stoves, and range finder in order to be grounded from lightning strikes. After this, he worked for Heart Mountain Relocation Camp where he delivered ice, cigarettes and candy to the builders. His wife-to-be, Anna, played volleyball with the detainees at this camp where her father was the postmaster.
After serving in the U.S. Navy, he married Anna Pond (they met at age 4, where Don’s grandmother was their Christian Science Sunday school teacher). They then honeymooned through Canada, and ended up in Wenatchee, Wash., where their first two children were born. They returned to Laramie where they raised their four children, horses, sheep, dogs, cats, Hoot the owl and Flash the antelope. Many other children grew up at the Dunlavy place.
Don and Anna were members of the American Quarter Horse Association and American Paint Horse Association. They also volunteered for the Laramie Jubilee Days Kids’ Horse Shows, 4-H horse shows, and hauled contestants to high school and Little Britches Rodeos. Their home was always open to the youth and people of Laramie for a country visit, riding horses, pack trips, and conversation enjoyed by a cup of coffee or a popsicle. Don always had a smile for everyone.
He retired after 35 years at the University of Wyoming as a painter and the paint foreman. He then worked full-time at their home, the Broken Bridle Ranch, where he and Anna entertained their family and friends.
He supported numerous organizations including: Wildlife Conservation, Ocean Conservancy, Special Olympics, Red Cloud Indian School, Disabled Veterans, Smile Train, Guiding Eyes, American Red Cross, Running Strong for American Indian Youth, Planned Parenthood, American Lung Cancer Society, World Wildlife and the Wyoming Wildlife Federation.
Don was preceded in death by his wife, Anna B. Dunlavy; his parents; and his siblings.
He is survived by his children, Linda Johnson (Tony Classi), Lourie (Beth) Dunlavy, Lisa (John) Davis and Danny (Roberta) Dunlavy; grandchildren Guy (Dina) Johnson, Ory Johnson, Blaine Dunlavy, Chris (Channing) Dunlavy, Tese Dunlavy, Abby (Mason) Michaelis, Brit Davis, Tappy (Aaron) Gish, Toby Dunlavy and Bailey Dunlavy; and numerous great-grandchildren. He is also survived by his close family friends Richard Johnson (Julie Grote).
At Don’s request, no services will be scheduled. Cremation has taken place and his ashes will be scattered with his wife of 61 years.
Memorial contributions may be made to the Wild Animal Sanctuary, 1946 County Road 53, Keenesburg, CO 80634 and/or Hospice of Laramie, 1262 North 22nd St. Laramie, WY 82072.
To send condolences or to sign the online guestbook, go to www.montogmerystryker.com