SEMO music professor Dunavan dead at 60

Thursday, July 22, 2004

In addition to teaching percussion, Southeast Missouri State University music professor Dr. Daniel Dunavan taught friends about inspiration and how to treat others.

Dunavan, 60, died Tuesday, and colleagues and students are left to remember the valuable lessons they learned about life from him.

"Three students have stopped in to tell me how much he was an inspiration to them," said Beverly Delph, administrative assistant for the department. "It was invaluable what he provided, and it was overlooked until now."

Dunavan had a straight-forward personality, and he always looked for ways to provide encouragement, she said.

"If I was having a bad day, he would make sure he came in and made me laugh," Delph said. "He was such a great person."

Dr. Gary Miller, chairman of the music department, said Dunavan always treated people the same, with honesty and wit.

"He had an extremely dry wit," Miller said. "He would needle the kids, but it was always in a good way and they came to know him for that. But if a student was struggling, he would lay it on the line."

Dunavan was the director of the percussion ensemble at Southeast and taught in England through the Missouri London Program, but Delph remembers Dunavan donating his time the past three years to teach her 10-year-old son, Kyle.

"He just saw something special in him," Delph said.

Miller said Dunavan gave freely of his time to help young students learn percussion instruments, holding numerous workshops at area middle schools and high schools.

Barry Bernhardt, director of university bands at Southeast, said Dunavan was devoted to helping young musicians and treated them much like he treated his own sons, Dylan, Cary and Jesse Dunavan.

"The one thing that sticks about Dan and Sheryl is their three sons," Bernhardt said. "They are very supportive of them, involved in their lives. He was a great father and a father figure for hundreds of students."

Dunavan taught at Southeast for 32 years, and when Bernhardt came to Southeast in 1990, Dunavan even served as a father figure for him.

"He was a very good friend," Bernhardt said. "But he was also a very good mentor and colleague."

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