George Dunbar
1946 - 2020
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George C. Dunbar
September 21, 1946 - September 13, 2020
George C. Dunbar "Chris", 73, of Ventura, CA passed away at home in the loving care of his wife, MaryBeth and sister-in-law, Nancy Shalala, on September 13, 2020, after a brave battle with lung cancer.
Chris was born in Santa Monica, CA to William Dunbar and Zephyr Vartikian in Sept 1946. He spent his childhood in Manhattan Beach, CA before moving to Thousand Oaks in 1960 where he was a member of the first graduating class of TO High School in 1964. Chris was a paratrooper in the 101st Airborne and, upon discharge, entered Moorpark College in the fall of 1968. He eventually settled in the Bay Area where he met his wife of 39 years, MaryBeth Shalala. Chris is survived by his wife, his sister Rory Safreed (Bob) and their two sons, Willie and Steven, his brother Mark, his son Jodin and grandson Gavin, his godchildren Michael Gibson, Katie and Dan McGuire. In addition, he was extremely close to his wife's siblings and many of his nieces and nephews were like his own children. Chris's passing will also be mourned by his many friends in the Bay Area, Southern California and across the country.
Chris was a humble genius. Usually the smartest man in the room, he was witty, kind and gently generous with his talents. He really thought it was no big deal to build his own classical guitar and then play it masterfully. Discussing philosophy with a stranger in self-taught Spanish was as natural as breathing.Chris did not just learn new skills, he absorbed and mastered them. Always willing to share his experience and skills with others, Chris enhanced the life of every person he met.
Among his many other accomplishments, Chris's mechanical abilities were highlighted in his restoration work on the Children's Carousel in San Francisco's Golden Gate Park. His inventive and clever carpentry and crew management on a difficult seismic upgrade to San Francisco's Candlestick Ballpark, finished just prior to the 1989 World Series, prevented hundreds of injuries when the Loma Prieta earthquake hit at the start of Game Three. His work with concrete, stone, and wood is abundantly displayed in buildings and homes in every area that he lived and worked. His artistic style and magnificent custom cabinetry work adorns his home and the homes of many grateful homeowners.
Chris's family and friends are invited to celebrate his life and memory at a Zoom Memorial. There will be a slideshow of photographs and words shared by family and friends. Please visit his Keeper Memorial page ( to share your memories and for details on when and how to join the Memorial. A memorial stone/bench in honor of Chris is being planned at Ventura Botanical Gardens. Please refer to Keeper for info on how to contribute.
Rest in Peace, Beloved

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Published in San Francisco Chronicle from Sep. 25 to Sep. 27, 2020.
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Memories & Condolences
Guest Book sponsored by Joseph P. Reardon Funeral Home & Cremation Service
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2 entries
September 28, 2020
Chris was a wonderful guy! My husband & I were good friends with Chris & MaryBeth when they lived in Marin County. Much love & virtual hugs to MaryBeth. We are so sorry for your loss. Love, Linda West & Peter Zadovsky.
Linda West
September 27, 2020
Our deepest condolences to Mary Beth, Rory & the rest of "Chris'" family. Our memories of "Chris" are slightly different. Sterling remembers him because of surfing I remember spending time with him and other friends, listening to his guitar playing in the "fallout shelter." He was a musician, a kind, nice guy. Gone way too soon! RIP & we'll see you on the other side, Chris!
Trish (Russell) & Sterling Meade
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