Meet Carlton Senior Living‘s spotlight resident, Barbara Dunn – Born on August 7, 1922 in Orosi, California, to parents Edith and Raymond Toler, Barbara Dunn is the youngest of three children. A native of California, Barb has lived throughout the state and in Surprise, Arizona. In Arizona, on an RV lot, Barb discovered in her 70s that she loves line dancing and became a line dancing teacher. For six years she taught roughly 10-50 people on any given night. Raised a Baptist, she feels that she didn’t know how to dance, but somehow managed to learn and teach. Upon returning to California, she lived in Citrus Heights and for the past four years has called Davis home.
Barb served in the Coast Guard for 27 months and held the rank and title of SK 3rd Class. During her military service, she roller skated five nights a week with another Coast Guard SPAR and learned to Jitterbug and Waltz.
Read a news article about Barbara: Davis vets are thanked and honored
Barb met her first husband, Lee Magnusen, in a church parking lot. They were married for 50 years and had three beautiful children: a son Steven and two daughters, Carol and Karen. She has two grandchildren and a great-grandchild. Barb has traveled to many places but fondly recalls a trip she took with Lee to Australia and New Zealand, his dream vacation.
Together, Barb and Lee decided to join a Christian organization called Mobile Missionary Assistance Program. They moved out of their mobile home into a 35 foot fifth-wheel trailer and lived in it for 15 years. During this time, they donated their talents to building and renovating churches and Christian campgrounds. They assisted on 15 projects in total, which took four summer months to complete. The most interesting project was in Colorado, where they built the walls of a log parsonage. “It was like playing with Lincoln Logs!” said Barb. The logs were pre-cut and numbered with pre-drilled holes for spikes. Barb was given a three pound hammer to drive the spikes halfway into the logs. After completion they told Barb that she did all of the pre-spiking for the project.
While in Arizona, at the Happy Trails Resort swimming pool, she met her second husband of 11 years, Norman Dunn. They were married next to the same pool on a day that reached 110 degrees. From both marriages she recalls nothing but happy and good memories.
Barb also found a love of playing the keyboard with a neighbor who played guitar. The next thing she knew, she was leading a band. She had anywhere from 8-18 people playing in the band at a given time. They played together for five years and entertained at block parties and retirement homes.
Throughout her life she has worked as a bookkeeper and as a homemaker. When her children reached their teenage years, she became a licensed childcare worker. Her family also hosted 30 international students, with some staying for just a weekend and others as long as four months.
Although she has enjoyed it all–from traveling in the USA, to her military service, to her time spent engaging in musical talents–Barb feels that raising her three children has been her favorite life experience. It has been important to remain positive in all situations. She feels that God gave her the strength and ability to accomplish all things that have been set before her. Barb hopes to be remembered as someone who upheld a good and positive Christian life. Three words that she feels describe her best are thrifty, happy, and giving.
The thing she likes best about living at Carlton Davis is that she doesn’t have to do anything! No cooking, no cleaning, and no laundry. “My purpose here is to be a friend to a friend that needs a friend.”
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Written by Eric Demuth