Samuel Dunbar

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Samuel Ross "Sammy" Dunbar, Sr.​

(Businessman from
Alexandria, Louisiana)

Born November 5, 1931​
Alexandria, Rapides Parish
Died August 31, 2014 (aged 82)​
Alexandria, Louisiana ​
Resting place Greenwood Memorial Park in Pineville, Louisiana​
Spouse(s) Phyllis Dean Nanney Dunbar​

Samuel Dunbar, Jr.
​ Melanie D. Jurgensen
​ Dianna Kathleen Dunbar
​ Four grandchildren​
Ida Davis and Ross Hawkins Dunbar​

Residence Alexandria, Louisiana ​

Samuel Ross Dunbar, Sr., known as Sammy Dunbar (November 5, 1931 – August 31, 2014), was a businessman, landowner, and civic figure in his native Alexandria, Louisiana.


The son of the former Ita Davis (1897-1986) and Ross Hawkins Dunbar (1890-1967),[1] Dunbar graduated second in his class in 1949 from Bolton High School in the Alexandria Garden District. In 1953, he was awarded with honors a Bachelor of Science degree in Business Administration from Tulane University in New Orleans,[2] at which he was president of Delta Sigma Pi, a business fraternity. He was the student body president of the School of Business and received the "Outstanding Graduating Senior" award. He was inducted into the Tulane Hall of Fame and Who's Who Among Students in American Colleges and Universities. Upon graduation from Tulane, he served two years in the United States Army with the occupation force in South Korea. He achieved the rank of first lieutenant.[3]

Business career

In 1955, Dunbar returned to Alexandria and joined Clark-Dunbar, Inc., a furniture business, first as treasurer and then vice-president. Upon his father's death in 1967, he became president and chairman of the board. In 1981, Clark-Dunbar was named the state's "Distinguished Retailer of the Year" by the Louisiana Home Furnishings Association. He was president of the Louisiana and Southwest home furnishings associations and chairman of the board of the National Home Furnishings International Association. Eventually, Dunbar left the up-scale furniture business and turned his building into an office complex known as Dunbar Plaza, located on Jackson Street Extension. The Dunbar family held much timberland on which petroleum was discovered.[4]

In 1979, Dunbar was elected the youngest director of the former Guaranty Bank & Trust Company, housed in the tallest building on Third Street in downtown Alexandria. Subsequently, he was the city director of the former Hibernia National Bank. Guaranty merged in 1987 into Capital One;[5] Hibernia also merged into Capital One in 2005. For twenty-eight years, Dunbar was president of Cotton Land Corporation of Alexandria.[3]

His civic contributions included the Salvation Army, United Way, Chamber of Commerce, Young Men's Christian Association, Little Theater, and the Rapides Symphony Orchestra. For nearly six decades, he was a member and president of the Alexandria chapter of Rotary International and a Paul Harris Fellow of that organization. With his lifelong friend Edwin Caplan, an Alexandria clothing merchant, Dunbar created the Rotary "Service Above Self" Award to honor those who work generously for community needs. He was a senior warden and vestryman at St. James Episcopal Church in Alexandria.[4]

Death and family

Dunbar died in the summer of 2014 at the age of eighty-two. He was predeceased by his wife, the former Phyllis Dean Nanney (1935-2001), a native of Hendersonville, North Carolina. The couple had three surviving children, Dr. S. Ross Dunbar of Prescott, Arizona; Melanie Dunbar Jurgensen and husband, Michael, of Alexandria; and Dianna Kathleen Dunbar of Denver, Colorado, and four grandchildren.[3]

The Dunbars are interred along with his parents at Greenwood Memorial Park in Pineville, Louisiana.[1]


  1. 1.0 1.1 Dunbar in Rapides Parish, Louisiana. Retrieved on September 21, 2014.
  2. Alexandria businessman Samuel Dunbar has passed away at 82. KALB-TV (September 4, 2014). Retrieved on September 21, 2014.
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 Samuel Ross Dunbar. The Alexandria Town Talk. Retrieved on September 21, 2014.
  4. 4.0 4.1 Richard P. Sharkey (September 3, 2014). Alexandria businessman Dunbar left legacy of success. The Alexandria Town Talk. Retrieved on September 21, 2014.
  5. Guaranty Bank and Trust Company. Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation. Retrieved on September 21, 2014.