Delbert Lee Dunckley was born Jan. 11, 1932, in Oak Creek to Herman and Lucille (Miller) Dunckley. His grandparents were Walter and Mary (Yoast) Dunckley and Harry and Florence (Taylor) Miller. He was the oldest of five children. One sister passed away during her birth in October 1932.
Delbert went to school in Oak Creek and graduated in 1950. He was active in football and basketball. During his senior year, he was a Western Slope and Yampa Valley all-conference player.
He spent summers during his teen years working on his great-uncle John J. Dunckley’s ranch in Dunckley Park as well as other jobs around Oak Creek. He spent one year spraying forests across Northwest Colorado to try to kill the pine beetle.
After graduation, he went to Denver and worked as a heavy-duty truck driver. While there, he stayed with his aunt, Verna Robinson.
In October 1951, he joined the U.S. Navy and went to basic training in San Diego. After basic, he went to school in Memphis, Tenn., and Jacksonville, Fla. In September 1954, he was assigned to the USS Wasp aircraft carrier and spent the next six months in Japan, Formosa and Korea during the Korean War. He returned to San Francisco in March 1955. He left active duty in October 1955, and he was honorably discharged from the Navy on Oct. 8, 1959. He had been awarded the China Service Medal, the National Defense Service Medal and the Good Conduct Medal.
He married Marion Aubrey in Reno, Nev., on Nov. 5, 1955. They made their first home in Alameda, Calif., where their oldest daughter, Lisa, was born. In 1959, after the death of his mother, they moved to Louisville, Ky., his wife’s hometown. They had two more girls, Suzanne and Jennifer Lee. After 34 years, they were divorced but both still resided in Louisville.
In the Navy, Delbert had learned to do sheet metal work, and he was able to join Sheet Metal Workers Union 110. He was a proud founding member and officer of the SMU Credit Union. He retired from the SMU in the early 1990s. He also was a Kentucky Colonel and University of Kentucky fan.
Delbert passed away Feb. 7, 2013, at his home in Louisville. He had been fighting chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, and because he had smoked for so many years, his lungs were very bad. He will be greatly missed by his family and friends.
His is survived by his daughters Lisa (Kit) Clark, Suzanne (Les) Goldring, and Jennifer (Mark) Dunckley; grandsons Tito (Mae) Hartz and Ben Goldring; brother Frank Dunckley; sisters Theora Courtney and Verna (Lynn) Holmes; and many nephews and nieces.
He was cremated, and his ashes will be spread on Dunckley Pass, as he requested so very many times.