Obituary: Dana Dunbar

Dana Dunbar
Dana Dunbar
Provided Photo

December 17, 1943 – October 31, 2021

Dana was a true character! Born Dana Dunbar Kamphausen in Bowmer, Colorado, she departed from us on Halloween, leaving behind her wonderful whimsical art, a string of unlikely stories (though often quite true), two Bengal cats, her beloved Yanjie and Pemba Sherpa and many friends.

She grew up in Littleton, CO, attended Kent School, Colorado College and the Colorado Institute of Art where she developed her unique style of illustration. She taught art and printmaking before heading to Europe with her twin sister, purchasing a Volkswagen van and taking two years to tour 37 countries.

The trip culminated in Munich where she became the art director for the US government’s main office and produced propaganda posters and European command artwork. Eventually she landed back in Littleton, then headed for the hills after a failed marriage. She moved to Idaho Springs where she and her twin restored their old house and taught art. After a marriage to Sam Smith in the 80s, she moved to Georgetown, CO, making a 22,000 square foot one bedroom addition to a two-bedroom log cabin which she surrounded with a rustic and hazardous nine hole golf course. Two movies were filmed there with breaks to soak in the four-lane glass enclosed lap pool with opera music echoing about.

From Georgetown Dana started anew, moving to her first of three homes in Arrowhead where she competed fiercely in member golf tournaments, ski events and enjoyed snowshoe jaunts up to the yurt, culminating in frightening high-speed slides back down on the slippery bottom of her pants. There she “adopted” Yanjie and Pemba who stayed with her for the final 20 years of her life, teaching her about their home country of Nepal. She helped start the Sherpa Foundation in the wake of Nepal’s disastrous 7.9 magnitudes of earthquake raising funds to send aid to those left injured and homeless. She joined the Board of the Vail Valley Art Guild and hosted numerous artists every Monday evening in her basement art room for many years. Gifts to either of those nonprofits may be made in her honor.

Dana, the artist with the powerful personality, was always able to create the life she wanted to live, in her final notes calling it a life well designed. It certainly was!

Friends of Dana should contact Pemba Sherpa at 970-390-5566 for information about her celebration of life June 25th.

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