Longtime New Ellenton resident Webster Dunbar is 100 years old today, and his children have all reached the same consensus: Their dad has been a hard-working man his entire life and deserves to be taken care of the same way he took care of them.
Dunbar was born on Aug. 14, 1914, in Barnwell County but spent his childhood and the first part of his adult life in old Ellenton.
Once residents were forced to move from the town to make room for the Savannah River Site in 1950, Dunbar settled into a New Ellenton community where he still lives today.
Dunbar was a man of many trades, according to his third-oldest child, Emma Odom. He worked at SRS when it started up, at Claussen Construction in Augusta and eventually retired from Fiberglass, which is now AGY.
In addition to earning a paycheck, Odom said her father always kept cows and hogs on the property to ensure his family always had food.
“It always seemed like there was no struggle in raising 11 kids because we never lacked for anything,” she said. “Daddy always made sure we had enough.”
In addition to his 11 kids, Dunbar has 29 grandchildren, 71 great-grandchildren and 55 great-great grandchildren.
With such a large family, Dunbar's son, David, said it's a blessing to still have his dad here so the other generations of children can see how special he is.
“He raised me to be a man because he knew one day I would have children,” said David. “I know people always say how appreciative they are about those kinds of things, but I mean it when I say I appreciate the way he raised me.”
In addition to being a family man, Dunbar has also been a huge part of his church, Four Miles Baptist Church in New Ellenton. Dunbar held the position as the oldest deacon of the church.
Dunbar said a few brief words about the life he lead and the love he has for his family and God.
“It wasn't easy. I had some ups and I had some downs, but I treated them all the same,” he said. “And I thank God for it all.”
Odom added, “Our mother passed in 1986, and she had written this letter for us. At the end of the letter, she said, ‘Y'all take care of Joe.' That's what she and his siblings always called him. She told us to take care of Joe because he took care of us, and that's exactly what we're doing. And I know she's proud of us for that.”
Derrek Asberry is a beat reporter with the Aiken Standard. He joined the paper in June 2013. He is originally from Vidalia, Ga., and a graduate of Georgia Southern University. Follow him on Twitter @DerrekAsberry.