Wiping tears of mixed emotions from their somber faces, Bob and Janice Dunavan removed a small curtain and for the first time laid their eyes on the stained glass window crafted in the name of their son, Michael, who lost a fight at age 27 with his degenerative condition, Freidreich’s ataxia, in January of 2008.
Michael was passionate in all he did at Barton more than a decade ago. His devotion and love for theater and music was so apparent, it was impossible to ignore, said Barton vocal music instructor Vern Fryberger during an unveiling ceremony Monday afternoon, where Barton faculty and staff gathered to offer kind words and stories in remembrance of Michaels unforgettable personality.
The stained glass window was designed and created by retired theater instructor Bob Loss, who knew Michael as a student, actor and simply a very talented young man.
Bob Dunavan said he was moved by the ceremony and those who turned out to honor his son’s life.
“It’s pretty fantastic that people would do this and remember Michael in this way,” he said. “It points out how important community colleges can be. He spent two years here, but it made the next four he spent at Fort Hays (State University) much easier.”
History instructor Linda McCaffery organized the event, and said Michael has had a lasting effect on her day-to-day life.
“Whenever I feel sorry for myself, I think of Michael and his great attitude,” she said. “Then I think, ‘suck it up!’”