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1922 Jessie 2023

Jessie Mary Dunbar

July 18, 1922 — June 2, 2023

Atlantic Beach



Jessie Mary Dunbar, age 100, went to be with her Lord on June 2nd, 2023, in Fernandina Beach, FL. Jessie was born on July 18, 1922, in Niagara Falls, NY, one of 11 children born to John and Mary Kontrabecki. She was lovingly raised by the Sisters of Charity at St Vincent's Depaul, a catholic home for girls. As a young girl she was often called on to sing or play the organ for chapel for the sisters. Her deep faith in Christ took root at this time and she would go on to follow Christ for her entire life. She also was given many jobs to do and always did them well. She learned to clean and once she started, she never stopped!

Upon graduation from the Nardine Academy, she took her little cardboard box with her belongings and began a string of jobs including boxing shredded wheat, dipping ice cream (she quit because the owner wanted her to skimp on the servings) and worked at the Bell Aircraft Corp assembling fighter planes for the war. She then decided to enlist as a WAVE in the US Navy, since the country was in the midst of the war. She marched up to the agency by herself and joined. A true patriot she often teared up singing and talking about her country and taught her children to love and respect the flag.

After boot camp she was assigned to NAS Jax where she learned to overhaul and repair pressure gauges on the fighter planes. She dated a few men that weren't up to par but eventually caught the eye of her boss, Walter C Dunbar, who was also the base bugler. They married on December 21, 1945, at the base chapel. Walter was the love of her life. They went to school on the GI Bill in Brockton, MA but eventually ended up back in Jacksonville when Walter was chosen over 2000 applicants to be the first sports director at Channel 12 in Jacksonville, a position he held for 23 years. They had 3 girls and resided in Atlantic Beach.

Jessie was a busy mother. She was a Girl Scout leader for 10 years, a PTA member, sang in the choir at Neptune Baptist Church for over 20 years, and was active in the FL 1st Coast Waves Unit 38. She eventually worked as the Humanities Secretary at Jacksonville University for 10 years and helped put 2 of her daughters through school there.

When Walter passed in 1986, she devoted herself to her Lord and family. She also traveled extensively around the world.  She loved Cape Cod and went every summer to the cottages she and Walter built by hand.

In her own words, Jessie loved going to church and Sunday School, cleaning a house until it shined, crocheting, swimming, and cheering on the Jaguars. She thoroughly loved her kids and grandchildren and said they were so pleasant and a joy to be near.

In her later years Jessie became an internet icon and local celebrity. Many people followed her on Facebook and sent her cards. Her work ethic, infectious joy, and determination to fight were an inspiration, even to those she never met. She lived life to the fullest and loved deeply. She now is in heaven with her Savior and reunited with Walter and her loved ones that have gone before. Jessie was predeceased by her husband Walter Dunbar, parents John & Mary Kontrabecki, and her siblings Stanley, Stella, Eddie, Peter, Ludwig, Joseph, Genevieve, Nellie, John & Martha.

Jessie is survived by her daughters Janet Snell (Gary), Carol Simpson (Mike), & Jean Schreiber (Matt), 5 grandchildren, 11 great grandchildren, and 1 great great grandchild.

A celebration of life will be held on June 16 at 4 pm at Neptune Baptist Church, Neptune Beach FL with a reception to follow. All who loved and were in inspired by her are welcome. Flowers are welcome, as are memorial donations to the, checking the box to donate in memory of Jessie Dunbar.

To order memorial trees in memory of Jessie Mary Dunbar, please visit our tree store.

Service Schedule

Past Services

Celebration of Life

Friday, June 16, 2023

Starts at 4:00 pm (Eastern time)

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