Nature 22

Ara Jane (Hill) Dunlap

August 20, 1924 ~ March 22, 2022 (age 97)


Funeral Services for Ara Jane Dunlap, age 97, of Norfolk, will be 2:00 p.m., Saturday, March 26, 2022 at the Home for Funerals Chapel, 708 Georgia Avenue in Norfolk.  Reverend Brian Johnson will officiate. Burial will be in Best Cemetery.  Visitation will be one hour prior to service at the chapel.  Home for Funerals is in charge of arrangements.

Ara Jane passed away Tuesday, March 22, 2022 at the Hillcrest Country Estates Cottages in Papillion, Nebraska. 

Ara Jane was born August 20, 1924 to Ralph M. and Vesper V. (Schwerdtfeger) Hill on the family farm near Arapahoe, Nebraska.  She was baptized into the Christian Church in Arapahoe in 1937.  She attended country school and graduated from Arapahoe High School in 1942 as valedictorian of her class.  The year following high school, she taught at District 28, a country school in Furnas County.

Ara Jane then attended the University of Nebraska at Lincoln, graduating "With Distinction" in January,1947, with a double teaching major in music and English. From mid-year 1947 through 1950, she served as a traveling grade school music teacher in the Omaha Public Schools, teaching at Florence, Minne Lusa, Miller Park, Druid Hill, Webster, and Vinton Schools. She and James H. Dunlap were united in marriage March 28, 1948, during his sophomore year in Medical School.  The couple moved to Indianapolis, IN in 1950, where Dr. Dunlap served his medical internship and Mrs. Dunlap taught 7th and 8th grade English in a K-8 public school as well as music for the entire school.  The following year, the couple moved to Norfolk, Nebraska.  While in Norfolk, the first of the couple’s five children were born.

After living a year in Norfolk, Dr. Dunlap was recalled into the Navy and the couple moved to Quantico, Virginia, where Dr. Dunlap served at the U.S. Navy Hospital and the Marine Air Station from 1952 through 1954. Following his discharge from the Navy, the Dunlaps returned to Norfolk where they resided until Dr. Dunlap’s death in 2013.  At this time, Mrs. Dunlap returned to the Omaha area.

Mrs. Dunlap was a member of the First Presbyterian Church of Norfolk, a life member of Grant School P.T.A., a life member of Inland Bird Banding Association and a member of various other bird banding organizations, active in the area and state Medical Auxiliaries, and a staunch supporter of the various activities of the five Dunlap children such as school, swim team, band, Brownies, Scouts, and especially scholastic activities.

The Dunlaps started a choose and cut Christmas Tree Plantation in 1967. When trees reached saleable size, Mrs. Dunlap assumed the responsibility of selling the trees, hiring local high school students to assist her. Starting in 1978, the summer shearing of the trees also became her job, which she continued until she again shared the task with her husband after he retired from the practice of medicine in 1990. The Dunlaps closed their tree field in 2001.

Mrs. Dunlap had a lifelong interest in birds and in 1976 became a federally licensed bird bander, one of only two thousand such individuals in the United States at the time. She continued this hobby for thirty years, banding thousands of birds in her own yard, sharing her extensive knowledge of birds and the live birds themselves with hundreds of school children, garden clubs, and other civic organizations as well as people who attended bird identification classes at the Tech college.

Mrs. Dunlap was proud of her farm background, a lifelong outdoor enthusiast, and a lover of all animals, an accomplished horsewoman, an avid fisherman and camper, a committed gardener. a dedicated traveler, an outstanding cook and seamstress, a champion of children and education, and devoted to her birds, and most important to her, her family and husband.

She is survived by her three daughters Mary (Mark) Virden of Overland Park, KS, Ann Woolard of Omaha, NE, and Sarah Heckathorn of Larkspur, CO, 10 grandchildren, 13 great grandchildren, and many nieces and nephews. 

Mrs. Dunlap was preceded in death by her husband of 65 years, sons Patrick S. Dunlap, M.D. and Paul A. Dunlap, parents, three sisters and one brother. 

In lieu of flowers, memorials are suggested to the Norfolk Rescue Mission, 111 N. 9th St., Norfolk, NE 68701 or the Norfolk Area Habitat for Humanity, PO Box 1251, Norfolk, NE 68702-1251.

To send flowers to Ara's family, please visit our floral store.


March 26, 2022

1:00 PM to 2:00 PM
Home for Funerals Chapel
708 Georgia Avenue
Norfolk, NE 68701

Funeral Service
March 26, 2022

2:00 PM
Home for Funerals Chapel
708 Georgia Avenue
Norfolk, NE 68701

Graveside Service
March 26, 2022

3:00 PM
Best Cemetery
84301 550th Avenue
Norfolk, NE 68701


Norfolk Rescue Mission
111 N. 9th Street, Norfolk NE 68701

Norfolk Area Habitat for Humanity
PO Box 1251, Norfolk NE 68702-1251

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