Cover photo for William Dunlap's Obituary
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1933 William 2023

William Dunlap

July 14, 1933 — July 9, 2023


Dr. William James (Jim) Dunlap passed away with his daughters by his side at his home in the Village Senior Residence in Missoula, Montana on July 9, 2023.  His final days were peaceful, spent in the company of family and life-long friends.  Jim had a long, adventure filled life, living to be 90 years old.  (Well, not quite, Dad actually passed away just a few days short of his 90th birthday.  But Dad was never one to let facts get in the way of telling a story.  So, in his honor, as far as his kids are concerned, Dad lived to be 90 years old.)

Jim was born in Anaconda, Montana on July 14, 1933, the youngest of a sister and three boys.  He graduated from Anaconda High School in 1951 and began his college career at the University of Montana that fall.  Jim completed his pre-med studies at the University of Oregon, graduating in 1957, the same year that he and the love of his life, Lois, began their 60-year marriage.  Jim went on to complete medical school at the U of O in 1959.  It was during this period in Portland that Jim and Lois grew their family with the birth of their first two daughters, Shannon and Sarah.  Their son, John, was born in San Antonio, Texas, shortly after Jim began service in the United States Air Force Medical Corps.  He was honorably discharged with the rank of Captain in 1962.

In 1965, after completing his 3-year residency in Dermatology at the University of Texas, Medical School in Galveston, Jim and Lois moved their family back to their home state of Montana.  They settled in Missoula where Jim established his dermatology practice – only the second in Montana – and where the birth of daughter Molly, in 1967, completed their family.  Jim’s dermatology practice flourished for the next 30 years, until his retirement from medicine in 1994.  A skillful and dedicated healer, Jim was well regarded by his patients and colleagues.

Jim was ever grateful for his good fortune in finding and then marrying the smartest, best-looking woman he’d ever met: Lois Jean Pozega of Butte.  As a kid, Jim did not have a good example for how to be a husband or father, but with Lois’ help, he figured it out from scratch.  He and Lois provided their kids with every resource they would need to excel in their own lives.  The success of their grandkids – all, now, young adults – is an ongoing testament to how great a job they did.

In 1994, Jim sustained a serious arm injury in a ski accident, which contributed to his decision to retire early.  In part, to help regain strength and dexterity, Jim began to teach himself how to be a wood carver.  Within a few months he found himself immersed in helping carve horses for the planned Missoula Carousel.  The close-knit group of carvers turned into a new orbit of dear friends to Jim.

Jim had a life-long interest in preserving family history, and was especially proud of his Montana heritage, stretching back to the mid-1800s and populated by many larger-than-life characters.  He loved going on road trips with family when his kids were young, and he and Lois continued to drive all over the western half of North America to explore and visit family right up until Lois’ passing in 2017.  Almost all weekends, spring through fall, were spent at their cabin on Placid Lake.  He also loved hiking, camping and fishing – especially in the Anaconda-Pintler Wilderness, his childhood “backyard”.  His other favorite activities included golf, biking and skiing with friends at Discovery Basin. 

Jim was preceded in death by his parents, Dr Lawrence Glen Dunlap and Inez Irwin; his half-sister, Helen (Hody), and two older brothers, Lawrence (Laurie) and Benjamin (Bunny); and his beloved wife, Lois.  He is survived by his four children and their spouses, Shannon (Martin) King of Missoula; Sarah Dunlap (Butch Laughlin) of Juneau, AK; John (Alison) Dunlap of Sitka, AK and Molly (John) Bennett of Missoula; seven grandchildren, eight great-grandchildren and numerous nephews and nieces.

Jim’s family extends a heart-felt Thank You to the hospice team and caregivers who helped him to be comfortable through this past year’s fight with cancer, and to his neighbors at the Residence, many of whom had also become very close friends.  A family gathering is being planned for next summer to celebration of Life for Jim and his beloved Lois.  Those wishing to pay condolences or share a fond memory of Jim may do so at  In lieu of flowers, the family suggests a donation to one of the local organizations that meant so much to him, including: Humane Society of Western Montana, Missoula Food Bank & Community Center, Garnet Preservation Association and A Carousel for Missoula.

QUOTE (Author Unknown):  “The gods do not deduct from a man’s allotted span, the hours spent in fishing” If that is so, we enjoyed about 20 more years with Dad than we would have had otherwise.

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