A resident of Fortuna for over 80 years, Kenneth Dunaway passed away peacefully at home at the age of 90, after a short and brave battle with cancer.

Ken was born in Gratis, Ohio in 1929. He, his siblings, and parents Judge William “Bill” and Eva Dunaway moved to Fortuna when he was in the 7th grade; he became a well-known and celebrated Fortuna High School-and later Humboldt State University-athlete.

In addition to being inducted into sports Hall of Fame for football, basketball, baseball, and track at HSU and FUHS, in 2000 Ken was included by 50 year Humboldt Times-Standard newspaper sportswriter Don Terbush in his list of “The Century’s 50 Best Humboldt County Athletes” in 1999.

Turbush said of him, “Pound for pound, the toughest football player ever to come out of Humboldt County”, as Ken played both exceptional offence and defense at a mere 165 lbs.! His nickname in the local newspaper sports pages soon became “The Fortuna Flash”.

He also was a celebrated Humboldt Crabs baseball player both before and after he served as a Navy officer during the Korean War, and was eventually inducted into the Crabs’ Hall of Fame.

A beloved teacher and school principal in the 1950s and 60s at Fortuna area elementary schools, Ken and his wife Virginia later purchased and operated Kemp’s Nursery for many years. In 1980, they opened the Sport & Cycle stores in Fortuna and Eureka.

Ken was an avid golfer and has been a member of the Redwood Empire Golf & Country Club since the 1960’s, and was proud to have “golfed his age” while playing every week prior to his cancer diagnosis. In addition to countless local golf games, he and his friends traveled on many adventurous golf trips and to many SF Giants games. He will be remembered as a kind, fun-loving man who was loved by all.

He is survived by his loving wife of over 60 years, Virginia, sons Gary, Todd (Toni), Tracy (Penny), daughter Debra (Christopher), grandchildren Michael (Iladda), Lani, Taryn, and Brooke, and great-grandchildren Gavin, Amara, and Sunny.

Service private; a celebration of life will be held at a later date. It was Ken’s wish that in lieu of flowers, donations in his name be made to Redwood Empire Golf & Country Club, ℅ Redwood Capital Bank, Fortuna Branch, Attn: Bob Judevine.


The obituary above was submitted on behalf of Ken Dunaway’s family. The Lost Coast Outpost runs obituaries of Humboldt County residents at no charge. See guidelines here.