William Clyde Dunlap, a.k.a., Wober, Wilbur, Will, 7/9/56-7/25/22, born in Nashville, TN came out of the womb complete with the genes for mischief and humor. He was nine years old when his mother, Bet, died and his father, Clyde, died in 2017. He is survived by his sisters, Debby and Jenny, his son Gabe, grandsons Adam and Oliver, daughter Robbie and granddaughter McKayla. The most important person in his life though was his loving partner of 28 years, best friend, drill sergeant and ballast, Debby Paulsen. There are numerous nieces and nephews, two of whom share the same birthday with him, and many cousins that he reveled in spending time with. Family and “traaaa-dition” were important to him. He considered them ‘saaaaa-cred’ (two of his favorite sayings). He always excelled in athletics and won the state championship in his weight class in wrestling his senior year of high school. He never missed riding the waves after a strong storm and more than once brought in the New Year with a refreshing plunge in the salt. His mental solstice was found in his daily runs on the beach. He often told Debby, “If I’m not back in 20 minutes just wait a little longer. If I’m still not back, just wait a little longer still.” For those of you knew him well, you could always be assured he would be late for whatever the event. After an ankle injury he could no longer take to the sands so he began amassing ‘woodies’ for 3K runs in Ft. Walton. He was an avid guitar player and so loved playing tunes with his son Gabe, his cousin Tom and others on his porch. If at all possible, he never missed a concert within 200 miles when John Prine, Jimmy Buffett, Dan Fogelberg, Mac McAnally, or James Taylor were playing. His last concert, with his partner Debby, was Jimmy Buffett in Austin, TX in June, 2022.
In the early 80’s he loaded up his old car and came to Ft. Walton Beach with his best friend Jerry, back when it was still a pristine paradise. He lived several years in Grayton Beach, when “The Butler’s Store” was still there and the only homes were the originals. He was a well-known bartender in the area for many decades. Some may remember him from the Sand Flea, AJ’s, Sandestin Hilton to name a few. There is no doubt that the business at the bar’s thrived due to his welcome smile, witty comebacks and his famous ‘Will-Kill-Ya” libation. While working full time and son Gabe still an infant, he completed his Bachelor’s degree in journalism. He was interested in investigative journalism after being hit by a hit-and-run driver while walking near Brooks Bridge. Writing never left his creative passion, and he often wrote to the local newspapers encouraging public notification about riptides. He would have given Robin Williams and Lewis Grizzard a good run if creativity had come hand in hand with self-discipline. He once entered a contest with a short story titled “Howard Be Thy Name”. His father’s best friend’s name was Howard. Growing up in church and saying the Lord’s Prayer, Will thought his dad’s friend Howard had a special connection with God. He always thought the prayer went, “Our Father who are in heaven, Howard be thy name……”. Friends have recently posted their memories of Will as “open, honest, provider of laughter, good hearted, funny, made everyone laugh and have a good time, free spirited, original thinker, a loving heart, nonjudgmental, never saw the bad in anything, almost naive, life’s light, the perpetual kid, … ”. You could always be sure he would befriend the children of his friends and play with them like a best buddy. Will always said “Don’t grow up, it’s a trap”. He lived by his word on that one with one of his favorite beach toys known to the kids and grandkids as the ‘tomb of doom”. He would tow the kids around in the ‘tomb’ and once even took his young son out in double red flag waves to enjoy the fun and challenge the waves. (The sheriff’s department did not share his outlook on the fun).
Will had his own unique vocabulary with such sayings as ‘Toot-A-Loo and a Ta-Ta too, Pleeeeese Do, Check the Sit-chi-a-shun, ……….
You will never meet a person who knew Will who could not tell a funny story about something he did or said or could ever say he was unkind. A bright flame has been taken away from our life but it will glow forever in our hearts and mind and memories. Thank you Will, for making all of us a better person for having known you. And a toot-a-loo to you from all of us.
A Celebration of Life will be held on Monday, August 15, 2022 at 5pm on the beach at the second public access on Okaloosa Island, Ft. Walton Beach, FL. If desired, donations may by made in Will's name to your local animal shelter. No flowers are requested.