Sky Scene 07

Dr. Christopher Dunbar Jr.

January 29, 1954 ~ April 30, 2022 (age 68)

Obituary



Dr. Christopher Dunbar Jr. was born on January 29, 1954 in Rochester, NY, the middle son of the late Christopher and Willa Mae Dunbar. Chris has two sisters, Sharon (Phillip) and Valerie (Phillip) he
attended Rochester public schools and was among the earliest cohort of students who were bused in
an effort to desegregate these schools. He was married to Reitumetse (Reitu) Obakeng Mabokela from
South Africa, whom he met in graduate school at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign while
pursuing his doctoral studies. Their union was blessed with two children, Karabo Christopher and
Orefile Kristen. Christopher passed away peacefully at home on April 30, 2022.

Christopher’s pursuit of educational opportunity took him across the country, from New York to
California, where he completed his undergraduate studies at the University of California-Los Angeles.
Upon graduation with a B.A. in Political Studies, he returned to Rochester to begin has career first as an
Account Executive at Gannet Newspaper and later joined the family bar business. After a few years, he
returned to Los Angeles where he transitioned to what would become his lifelong passion in teaching
and learning. He pursued and successfully completed a Master’s in Education while teaching at a
special education school for boys. He then proceeded to the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign
where he earned a Ph.D in Education Policy Studies. It is at Illinois where he met his wife of 24 years,
Reitu, and extended his family globally.

His commitment to social justice and education issues started early. His formative experience as one of
the earliest students who were bused in Rochester public schools fueled his involvement with the Black
Teens for Community (BTC) and intensified his dedication to develop and to support programs that
provided educational and employment opportunities for youth, especially in the African American
community. He demonstrated the same passion and commitment to developing African American
youth through his work as a teacher in LA, where he worked in schools that served with marginalized
youth. Similarly, his scholarly research and academic work at Michigan State University (MSU), where
he retired as Professor Emeritus after twenty years, reflected a deep commitment to mentoring the
next generation of urban educators and leaders. His commitment to educational excellence, was
acknowledged when he was awarded the Crystal Apple award by the College of Education at MSU.

After his retirement from MSU he returned to his alma mater, the University of Illinois Urbana Champaign, where he spent the last five years of his academic career.
As a lifelong learner, he indeed enjoyed traveling the world both, professionally and for leisure. His
adventurous spirit took him across six continents from leading study abroad programs in Australia and
China, to conferences in Cuba and Brazil, to family visits in South Africa and Ghana, and many vacations
wherever his imagination would take him.

As we celebrate Chris’ life and the various ways he touched our lives, remember his words:

“I have lived a full life, I have done everything I wanted, I have traveled the world,
I have no regrets.”

A Memorial Service Honoring the life of Dr. Christopher Dunbar Jr., will commence at 11AM, Monday, May 9, 2022 at The Church of the Living God, Champaign, IL.
A visitation will begin at 10:30AM until the start of the service. Officiating Bishop Lloyd E. Gwin.


IN LIEU OF FLOWERS


To honor Dr. Dunbar's legacy,  his commitment to social justice and the upliftment of Black youth, especially young men from underserved communities, our family endowed the Dr. Christopher Dunbar Jr. Urban Education Scholarship in the College of Education at UIUC.


In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to the scholarship as follows:

University of Illinois Foundation
Dr. Christopher Dunbar Jr. Urban Education Scholarship
https://uif.uillinois.edu/give/

OR

College of Education,
https://give.education.illinois.edu
Dr. Christopher Dunbar Jr. Urban Education Scholarship

OR BY MAIL TO:

University of Illinois Foundation PO Box 734500, Chicago, IL 60673
 

A Live Stream Will be streamed off of our Facebook Leek and Sons Funeral Home at 10:45 am on Monday May 9, 2022

To send flowers to the family or plant a tree in memory of Dr. Christopher, please visit our floral store.


Services

Visitation
Monday
May 9, 2022

10:30 AM to 11:00 AM
Church of the Living God
312 E. Bradley Ave
Champaign, IL 61820

Video is available for this event


Memorial Service
Monday
May 9, 2022

11:00 AM
Church of the Living God
312 E. Bradley Ave
Champaign, IL 61820

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