Mike and Linda Dunaway

Linda and Mike Dunaway Enlarge photo

Linda and Mike Dunaway

Former longtime Durango residents Mike and Linda Dunaway died in a helicopter crash Saturday, June 30, 2012, near Camp Verde, Ariz. Mr. Dunaway was 63, and Mrs. Dunaway was 64.

Mr. Dunaway was born to Eugene and Ellen Dunaway of Hesperus on Oct. 13, 1948. Mrs. Dunaway was born to Virgil and Gloria Cherry of Durango on March 29, 1948. Both were graduates of Durango High School in the Class of 1966.

They were active members of the Durango community.

The Dunaways married March 19, 1971, in Durango.

A decorated veteran of the Vietnam War Mr. Dunaway went on to a 26-year career in fire and rescue service. He began as a volunteer with Animas Fire Protection District before joining the Durango Fire Department in 1981. He was named chief in 1988, and when Durango Fire & Rescue Authority formed in 2002, he became its first chief.

Mrs. Dunaway ran the La Plata County Humane Society Thrift Store for 15 years before serving as executive director of the society for two years. The Durango Chamber of Commerce gave her the Athena Award, now the Morley Ballantine Award, in 2000.

The couple had lived in Glendale, Ariz., for the last couple of years.

“The family will remember the way they inspired them with their warmth, deep love for family and friends and their giving attitude,” their family said.

The Dunaways are survived by their son, Jason Dunaway, of West Virginia; daughter, Michelle Dunaway, of Glendale; Mrs. Dunaway’s mother, Gloria Cherry, of Durango; Mrs. Dunaway’s siblings Bob Cherry and Bill Cherry, both of Durango, and Sandra Amidei of Phoenix; three grandchildren; and numerous nieces and nephews.

A memorial service was held Saturday, July 7, 2012, in Whalen Gymnasium at Fort Lewis College.

In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be sent to The Hundred Club of Durango, P.O. Box 3146, Durango, CO 81302; or the La Plata County Humane Society, 1111 South Camino del Rio, Durango, CO 81303.