Ralph Lewis Dunbar

SOUTHWEST HARBOR — Ralph is gone.


Ralph Lewis Dunbar, Sr. was born Dec. 14, 1938. He lost his battle with diabetes and lung disease on May 24, 2010 at the age of 71, at Mount Desert Island Hospital surrounded by family, his children by his side. He was predeceased by his wife Elizabeth Dunbar, his parents, and younger brother John W. Dunbar, his infant daughter Debbie, and daughter-in-law Kim Pomroy, and nephews Michael Hopkins and Robert Gascon.

Ralph would have liked us to list all of his beloved pets that predeceased him but the column just isn’t large enough. Noogie, the pig his father raised to feed the family one summer, should however be honored. Until the day he died Ralph would not eat pork.

He leaves behind three children, Ronald Pomroy of Bass Harbor, Ralph Jr. and his wife Lanie, and his daughter Paula Dunbar, all of Southwest Harbor; grandchildren Elizabeth and Emily Dunbar and Ron Pomroy III; sisters Gertrude Gascon and her husband George, Charlotte Lawson and her husband George, Joyce Kinney and her husband Jim, Pauline Moody and her husband Nick; brothers Edwin Dunbar and his wife Carolyne, Guy Dunbar and his wife Paula; and sister-in-law Peggy Dunbar; and a special friend, Mildred Butler. Ralph was a loving uncle to 13 nieces and 10 nephews.

The first seven years of his life he was called “baby Ralph” by his five siblings, but two brothers were to follow making the family 10. Ralph began his working life at the family wharf in Manset. It was there he developed his legendary skill at filleting fish, working alongside his father, uncles and brother. At 15 he hitchhiked to Massachusetts. There he got a job working on the Massachusetts turnpike driving a dump truck until the day he told his boss he couldn’t join the union with the rest of the crew because he was only 15. He then went to Connecticut for work, where he met a girl from the island who was to become his wife. He married Elizabeth Perkins and they moved back to Maine to raise their family.

Ralph was a fisherman for a number of years. Later, he drove construction equipment for EMR and John Goodwin Jr. Ralph will be remembered by his friends and family as a very giving man, one who would give his last shirt to someone in need. He gave unselfishly to those he loved and even the stranger on the street if moved to do so. He was extremely witty and loved to sing. His favorite pasttimes were camping, boating, dancing and playing pool. Ralph believed life isn’t about what material things you have; it’s the friends you’ve made along the way.

A memorial service for Ralph will be held on Friday, June 4 at 4 p.m. at the Manset Union Church. There will be a gathering immediately following the service at the legion hall in Southwest Harbor.

Know when to pay your respects.