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Apex Woman Suffers Aneurysm One Day Before Husband Returns From War

Posted June 7, 2007
Updated June 8, 2007

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— For 18 months, Barbara Dunston waited for her husband to come home from Iraq.

When she got the news that he was on his way, she was “over the moon,” according to her sister, Rose Gillard.

So on Sunday morning – at the church where she spent much of her time mentoring young people – Barbara told the congregation the good news.

Her husband was in Wisconsin on the last leg of his trip and would be returning home the next day.

But before the church service ended, something went terribly wrong. Barbara, 56, collapsed and suffered a brain aneurysm. Doctors kept her alive so her husband could say goodbye when he returned home the next day.

“We were just trying to hold on until my father could get home,” Alteric Dunston, her son, said Thursday.

Barbara and Clarence Dunston were married for 35 years. He was a reservist, and every week she sent care packages to the Middle East  not just to her husband, but to his whole unit.

Barbara received dozens of e-mails thanking her for the little things she did to make soldiers feel closer to home.

“Everything that she did … everything that she did, somehow indirectly helped someone else,” Alteric Dunston said.

Barbara was an organ donor, and her organs have already helped several people in need of transplants, the family said.


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  • moose13 Jun 9, 2007

    God Bless her and her family, even after her passing she has been able to keep giving! What an angel from God!

  • At Work Jun 9, 2007

    WOW I'm at a loss for words! God Bless there family and her husband.

  • NC BEACH LOVER Jun 9, 2007

    I am sadden by hearing of this tragic loss to what seems to be a wonderful family. I pray that the Lord will comfort the family during their loss. Many thanks goes out to Mrs. Dunston for what she did for her community and to her husband Mr. Dunston for his service to this nation. My thoughts and prayers are with you.

  • choirgirl Jun 8, 2007

    Tarheel08, There is a song by Natalie Grant, "Held", and I find it helps when my faith is wavering. Paraphrased, it explains that no where in the Bible does it say we'd be rescued or spared pain or suffering or the nightmares of this world. It does say We'd be Held through them all. Hope this helps. I know her family will feel the comfort of God's love.

  • latanya512 Jun 8, 2007

    This woman has done a service to this world that most of us have never even thought about doing. I hope this family gets to read these messages from her NC friends (we might be crazy sometimes, even fight, but we are still friends to each other in this state). May your family be blessed and time heals all things, it might not come quick but it will come. But while it is coming, you will get a chance to rehash things you might have forgotten about and come together closer.

  • djofraleigh Jun 8, 2007

    She sounded like a real sweetheart.
    I'm glad she had the peace of knowing he was in the US.
    What one more day would have meant.

  • ladyblue Jun 8, 2007

    This is a sad and tragic story. It seems the Lord may be calling all the good ones homes. She sounded like a special lady and to have waited so long for her husband. He had a terrible homecoming to get to. Wish he could have gotten there at least one day before such a tajedy.

  • americangirl Jun 8, 2007

    She did sound like a wonderful woman. To the family, you were very blessed.

  • drnc Jun 8, 2007

    God Bless him.

  • SOCLOSE Jun 8, 2007

    Another angel called home. God bless the family, and sorry for your loss.