Share This Obituary

Rodney Price Dunaway, 78, of Longwood, FL, died surrounded by his family at home on July 29, 2013 after a hard-fought battle with cancer. Rod was born in Memphis, Tennessee on June 8, 1935 to Annie Laurie Sanders of Kentucky and Webster Price Dunaway of Tennessee. He grew up in South Florida, where he took six years and three jobs to work his way through undergraduate school at the University of Miami. He would go to school a semester at a time, taking breaks to earn enough money to return to his study of chemistry. It was his job at the Veteran's Administration Research Laboratory under neurologist Peritz Scheinberg that convinced him to enter medical school and to specialize in Neurology. Working in the same way, he earned his medical degree from the university in 1963.

Rod served in the US Air Force from 1963 to 1971. His military service began with positions at Wright-Patterson and Mather Air Force Bases in California, and a fellowship at Bascom Palmer Eye Institute in Miami. In 1966, during the height of the Vietnam War, he was selected as the only member of the USAF to enter a prestigious residency at Walter Reed Army Medical Center in Washington, D.C. He served three years there, including one as Chief Resident. He left Walter Reed with a profound appreciation of veterans and their service that influenced all he did afterward. Rod was then transferred to Wilford Hall Medical Center in San Antonio, TX, where he served as Assistant Chief of Neurology and as consulting Flight Surgeon for NASA's Apollo space program.

Rod entered private practice in Orlando and for seven years served as Chairman of the Department of Neurology at Florida Hospital Orlando. He was known for his excellent diagnostic skills, which he attributed to old-fashioned thoroughness and taking the time to really listen to what his patients had to say. He never turned a patient away for lack of ability to pay and at times paid for his patients' tests out of his own pocket. After 16 years in private practice, he returned to public service at the Veteran's Administration, splitting his time between offices in Tampa and Orlando and focusing his efforts on obtaining medical services and benefits for patients with service-related brain injuries.

When a back injury made travel too difficult, Rod left the VA. He devoted the rest of his career to The Center for Memory Disorders in Orlando and to volunteering at Shepherd's Hope medical clinic. He was genuinely humbled to receive several honors for his service during this time.

Rod loved being outdoors and enjoyed target shooting, canoeing, whitewater paddling, wildlife photography and sharing his love of nature with others. More than anything, he was a devoted husband, father and grandfather.

Rod is predeceased by his father (1957), his mother (2004), and younger sister Jan Dunaway Arnett (1973). He is survived by his wife of 51 years, Patricia Batson Dunaway; his daughter Shawn Dunaway-Shanks and son-in-law Steve Shanks of Altamonte Springs, FL; his daughter Erin Crabtree and son-in-law John G. Crabtree of Key Biscayne, FL; his son Jeb Dunaway and daughter-in-law Jodi Dunaway of Longwood, FL; his daughter Shannon Dunaway and son-in-law Anibal Soto, of Key Biscayne, FL; and his grandchildren John Crabtree Jr., Faith Crabtree and Noah Soto. He will be greatly missed.

Memorial donations may be made to Operation Homefront, San Antonio, Texas (210-659-7756, or Shepherd's Hope, Orlando (407-876-6699, A memorial service is planned for August 10, 2013 at 11:00 am at the Garden House at Harry P. Leu Gardens, 1920 North Forest Avenue, Winter Park, Florida.