Colonel Noble Horace Dunson, Sr., a longtime resident of Loudoun Heights, Va., and current resident of Fayetteville, N.C., peacefully left this world June 24, 2010, in the lakeside cabin he hand-built on the shores of Kerr Reservoir near Clarksville, Virginia.

Col. Dunson was born Jan. 17, 1920, in DeKalb, Texas, the oldest child of Arthur Elijah Dunson and Madie Ora (Cowen) Dunson. Col. Dunson grew up in Godley, Texas, and graduated from Godley High School. After enlisting in the Army in 1938, he completed his basic training at Fort Polk, La. His first duty station was at Fort Sam Houston in San Antonio, where he met his wife, Evelyn Inez Oliver.

They enjoyed a 57-year marriage, sharing an adventurous life around the world and the U.S. while raising four sons. They were married in Macon, Ga., at her sister Rebecca Jones’ home, and set up housekeeping in Fayetteville, N.C., where he was stationed at Fort Bragg. Their next duty station was at Camp Stoneman, which was the Army’s staging center for troops being sent to the Pacific Front during World War II. In November 1942 Master Sgt. Dunson was nominated to attend West Point but was over-age by just months.

His army sponsors sent him to Officer Candidate School at Fort Holabird, Md., where he earned a reserve officer’s commission as a lieutenant in ordnance. In October of 1945 he was among the first foreign troops to occupy Imperial Japan. While stationed there, he was involved in setting up the occupation army’s government to pacify Japan. From Japan, Capt. Dunson was sent to China and was one of the last Army officers to leave China ahead of the Communist takeover.

Back in the States he was assigned to Fort Bliss, El Paso, Texas in June of 1946. In June 1949 Capt. Dunson and his family were sent to Bremen, Germany. Promoted to major, Dunson was a member of the Counter-Intelligence Corps, which was charged with rooting out Communists in the German government. In March 1951, Maj. Dunson was assigned to Stuttgart, Germany. In August of 1952 Maj. Dunson was sent home to Fort Holabird, Md. In 1954 he was sent to the Army War College and later to Command and General Staff College.

In May of 1955 Maj. Dunson was stationed back at Fort Sam Houston, where he received a promotion to lieutenant colonel and was awarded a regular army commission. Next he served a hardship tour in Korea, following which now Col. Dunson was assigned to the Pentagon in the personnel department in charge of duty assignments for all officers below the rank of colonel. His next duty assignment was another hardship tour in Vietnam. He was stationed at the airport in Saigon, where his housing quarters were bombed in the evening by sappers, resulting in many casualties.

Col. Dunson’s work habits saved him, as he was still at the office. Another close call came when Col. Dunson was in the helicopter with his commander, Gen. Joseph Stillwell Jr., when it was shot down. Returning to the Pentagon, Col. Dunson was made the chief of the Courier Service. During his Army service, Col. Dunson earned many awards and commendations, including the Legion of Merit, the Army Commendation Award with three clusters and the Bronze Star. Col. Dunson was a Mason.

Col. Dunson retired from active duty in 1971 after 33 years in his nation’s service. Along the way he had many outside interests. Col. Dunson was a master poker player. He hunted and fished in numerous locales, including the Black Forest of Germany, the North Sea, Alaska, Canada, Texas, Virginia and Maine. He had permanent party status at Fort AP, Hill, Va. He was the first president of the Hideaway Association of Clarksville, Va.

In his retirement he collected an enormous number of Indian arrow heads around Kerr Reservoir. He enjoyed gardening and telling stories of his adventures to his loving and large family, as well as his numerous friends. He enjoyed playing with his grandchildren and great-grandchildren, who affectionately called him “Como.”

Col. Dunson was predeceased by his wife, Evelyn, in July 1998; four brothers John, Buster, Jackie and Eddie; and a sister, Faye.

He is survived by a brother, Frankie, of Joshua, Texas;  thre sisters, Dolores Crook of Irving, Texas, Flora West of Godley, Texas, and Shirley Inglis of Arlington, Texas; four sons: Noble Horace Dunson Jr. and his wife, Marcia, of Bucerias, Mexico, Keith Lionell Dunson and his wife, Linda, of Belfast, Russell Allan Dunson and his wife, Joy, of Fayetteville, N.C., and Jeffrey Clark Dunson of Purcellville, Va.; 10 grandchildren, Anya Pollara of Montague, N.J., Karen Sokol of Burlington, Vt., Jennifer Kirchoff of Hope, Jessica Dunson-Todd of Belfast, Shea Howard of Buda, Texas, Leigh Dunson of Austin, Texas, Ryan Dunson of Fayetteville, N.C., Randall Dunson of Cleveland, Tenn., Colette Dunson of Purcellville, Va., and Alyssa Dunson of Purcellville, Va.; and 11 great-grandchildren.

Col. Dunson will be interred at 9 a.m. Oct. 12 at Arlington National Cemetery with full military honors, beginning at the old Fort Myer Post Chapel. There will be a reception at the Officers’ Club following the graveside service.

There was a time of remembrance and celebration July 3 at the ReCon pavilion, Clarksville, Va., and a memorial service at the Ebenezer United Methodist Church of Neersville, Va, Sunday, July 25, at 2:30 p.m.

In lieu of flowers, contributions in his memory can be made to the American Diabetes Association at diabetes.org.

Col. Dunson cast a long shadow and will be sorely missed by his large and loving family and his many friends.

Online condolences may be expressed to the family at wclfh.com. Arrangements are with Watkins Cooper Lyon Funeral Home.