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Jerry Dunaway Passes Away

05/06/2011, 5:06am CDT
By No Author

Walter J. "Jerry" Dunaway, III, 51, of La Porte, Texas passed away at Memorial Hermann Cardio Vascular Institute on Wednesday after a valiant battle with vascular illness.  Dunaway was born on May 3, 1960 in Birmingham, Alabama where he attended Mountain Brook High School.  He received his Bachelor's degree in chemistry from Auburn University in 1984 and began a career as a research chemist.
After three years, he realized teaching was to be his life's work.

Upon completing the requirements for teaching certification at Samford University in Birmingham, Ala., Jerry moved to Texas to begin a 25-year teaching career at South Houston High School in the Pasadena Independent School District.   A member of the science department, Jerry soon developed a reputation for the clarity, spontaneity and absolute zaniness of his teaching.

He has left a legacy of students who mastered a difficult subject and had fun doing it.

Soon after his arrival in Houston, Jerry became an active participant in the Clear Lake Fencing Club.

In 1995, he began an after-school fencing club at South Houston High School. By 1999, interest in the activity resulted in the placement of a fencing class during the school day.

Beginning and advanced classes were added until Jerry left the science department and became a full-time fencing coach, teaching 120 fencers in five classes.

Jerry's love for this sport began in his college days at Auburn University.  He enjoyed sharing his knowledge of both the history and techniques of what he considered a noble sport.

His fencers participated in qualifying tournaments leading up to the Junior Olympic Fencing Championships, and through the years the South Houston fencers brought home many medals and brought much recognition to the school.

He did not see obstacles, he saw opportunities, and created an outstanding fencing program with his own equipment, his own funds, his skilled coaching and overpowering enthusiasm for inspiring young people to be successful.

Jerry was active in the U.S. Fencing Association Referee Seminars sponsored by the Fencing Officials Commission and participated in coaches' seminars held each summer at the Olympic Training Center in Colorado Springs, Colo.

He worked with the Duke University Fencing Team to create educational media to advance the sport of fencing.

The humor of Jerry Dunaway knew no bounds; neither did his versatility.

He sang and acted in SHHS school musicals and designed and built sets and created special effects for many productions. He continued to pursue the role of magician and illusionist which he had begun with his high school magic act.

A master chef, Jerry was also in demand to produce power point presentations and other visual aids for both fencing and music textbooks for universities and publishers.

And, once a year, Jerry enthusiastically celebrated Pirate's Day.


Jerry was far more than an exceptional teacher and successful coach.  He was a friend and protector, first to his younger sister, then to his classmates, friends and students.  His kind, generous, loving spirit will be missed by all those who knew him.Jerry is survived by the love of his life, Charlotte Elizabeth Eads; his father-in-law, Nathaniel B. Eads; his sister, Amanda Lee Beverly, brother-in-law, Michael Kirk Beverly, nephew, Mark Elliot Beverly, niece, Alison Adair Beverly of Birmingham, Alabama; and extended family Stephen and Ana Payne and daughter Avery; Randy and Mary Hanks and their children Daniel, Michael, Catherine, Donna, Sarah and Elizabeth.  Jerry was preceded in death by his parents, Walter Jerome Dunaway Jr. and Mary Lee Adair Dunaway and his mother-in-law, Barbara F. Eads.The family will receive friends from 4 - 7 p.m. on May 7 at Niday Funeral Home, 6777 Fairmont Parkway, Pasadena.   The funeral service celebrating the life of Jerry Dunaway will be held on May 8 at 4 p.m. at Niday Funeral Home. 

In lieu of customary remembrances, donations can be made to any of the following scholarship funds:  "Duke Fencing in Memory of Jerry Dunaway" (on memo line of check), Duke Fencing, Cameron Indoor Stadium, Box 90555, Duke University Athletic Department, Durham, NC 27708;  Barbara Eads Memorial Scholarship Fund, payable to Texas Orchestra Directors Association (include Barbara Eads Scholarship on the memo line), TODA attn. Craig Needham, 1912 Campbell Trail, Richardson, Texas 75082; Auburn Alumni Association Scholarships, www.alumni.auburnscholarships

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