James Gerald Dunaway, 69, of Moultrie, GA passed through the light with a peaceful heart on August 18, 2017 at Emory University Hospital in Atlanta, GA. Surrounded by his family, he embarked on his new journey forward where he celebrates his lifetime spent as a beloved and devoted son, brother, husband, father, uncle, grandfather and friend. Gerald was many things to many people, but most notably he was dependable, witty, patient, calm, and loving. His unique but steady character made him a friend to nearly everyone he met.
Born on March 14, 1948 in Natchez, MS, Gerald was the middle of five children. His four siblings: Linda Dunaway Townsend (Houston, TX), Larry Dunaway (Columbia, MS), Wayne Dunaway (Denver, CO), and Norman Dunaway (Brookhaven, MS) grew up alongside him spending their childhood in Brookhaven, MS. His parents, Willard Henry Dunaway from Brookhaven, MS and Edna Magdaline Noe Dunaway from New Orleans, LA precede him in his departure and undoubtedly welcome him with their loving ways. Known for his 'shenanigans' in childhood as well as adulthood, Gerald had an uncanny way of endearing himself to those he caused the most mischief. His siblings and close cousin Janice Perry Herrington (Saltillo, MS), though living great distances apart, remained close with him and with one another. They miss him dearly already.
If there were a word beyond loyal, it would be used to describe Gerald and his feelings toward his wife, Peggy Lynn Patterson Dunaway. Meeting at the young ages of 12 and 14 in Brookhaven, Peggy and Gerald spent their lives side by side, never parting until his last breath. Together, they made Moultrie, GA their home and raised two daughters: Alesha Paige Dunaway Short (Wake Forest, NC) and Pamela Beth Dunaway Cassini (Roswell, GA). As early parents, they found joy in local activities and sports, quiet evenings at home, and playing in the yard. Later, they traveled to spend valuable time with their family and explored adulthood together alongside their daughters. Always providing a simple, profound word or a light-hearted laugh, Gerald was, and is still, a fundamental strength in his family, anchoring a fast-moving, superficial world into a steady core of virtue and values. His daughters are proud to call him father and he remains fiercely loved and cherished.
He welcomed his sons-in-law, Michael Shane Short from Plains, GA, in 1998 and Nicholas Loiewski Cassini from Sandy Springs, GA in 2005. He enjoyed fishing and outdoor activities with Shane and walking the golf course with Nick. For 16 years he doted on his grandchildren: Katherine Mackenzie Short (16), James Landry Short (13), and Madeline Elizabeth Short (9). Just as he did in parenthood, as a grandfather he watched countless dance recitals, rode bikes, supervised shopping trips, traveled, camped, fished, played golf, shot pool, and watched ballgames and movies with his adored grandchildren.
Between babies, children, and pets Gerald rarely had a moment that he wasn't the chosen one for holding or being the preferred lap on which to sit. His spaniel, Georgia, was fixated on his every move, and his many grand-pups have been loving additions to his days spent at his girls' homes.
In early life, Gerald showed athleticism and discipline in sports like baseball and jobs on his family's farm. He pursued a higher education earning a bachelor's degree at Mississippi State University and a master's degree at the University of Georgia. He was employed at Southern Regional Technical College for 37 years and served as Registrar before retiring in 2009. He preferred working to retirement and his family often joked with him that he was an extreme creature of habit.
His family enjoys many fond memories of Gerald. Some favorites are his laugh, his go-to jokes and sayings, watching the Atlanta Braves, the Georgia Bulldogs, and the Colquitt Co. Packers, and simply sharing his love for nature. They invite anyone who has a fond memory of him, no matter how small, to please come share it as they celebrate his life.
Celebration of the Life of James Gerald Dunaway: Sunday, September 24th, 2017, Sundown Farms Plantation, 2:30 - 6:00 PM.
Please join us as we observe a Moment of Remembrance in the Chapel at Sundown Farms beginning at 2:30 PM. Following, from 3:00 until 6:00, will be a lighthearted and uplifting gathering to celebrate the life of Gerald Dunaway. Shared memories, laughter, and an occasional happy tear will be shed as we all tell stories of how we knew and loved him.
In lieu of flowers, please consider an online donation to Gerald's favorite charity, St. Jude Children's Research Foundation:
Also, for those able to come, we hope you can bring a written memory so that it may be added to a Keepsake Book.
Please know that we appreciate all the love and support the community has extended and our hearts express eternal gratitude for this man who has shaped us and enhanced our lives in an endless way.
Published on August 29, 2017