The Star Beacon; Ashtabula, Ohio

Local News

October 24, 2011

Andover man killed by tree

Dan Dunlap was glad to have a job when he arrived for his first day of tree-trimming duty on Saturday, his sister says.

The drive to Middleburg Heights was long, but Dunlap, who had been “downsized” from his job in communications, was going to put in some hours at his best friend’s pruning and tree removal business.

Dunlap didn’t see the end of that first day of work — he was killed instantly when a tree toppled and fell on top of him, his sister, Beth Nicholas said.

“It was just a freak accident,” she said. “They were working on a tree, taking down the top of it. When the top of the tree hit the ground, the impact caused another tree nearby — a dead tree — to snap and fly back and hit Dan.”

Dunlap of Andover was 41 years old.

“We believe he died instantly,” Nicholas said. “We believe there was no pain.”

Dunlap was no novice to the tree trimming business. He had helped college friend Bill Seymor with jobs off and on, part time, for years, friend Tony Noxon said.

Dunlap was an advanced runner, seasoned by many miles with the Pymatuning Valley track and cross country teams, Nicholas said.

“He started running in the eighth grade and he went to state every year he was in high school,” she said. “His senior year he ran for two weeks in Australia. He started running as a kid in PV and he has been running ever since. He just loved it. It was one of his true passions. I mean, on a light day he ran five miles.”

A 1988 PV graduate, Dunlap continued his running career for the Division I Ohio University Bobcats, where he earned All-American status.

Dan Dunlap’s twin brother, Tim Dunlap, decided to run a race with his brother this year, Nicholas said.

“They raced against each other and Tim thought they would be able to spend some time together while they ran,” she said. “But Dan just flew right by him, left him in the dust.”

Noxon remembers when Dunlap was a scrawny high school sophomore with a chip on his shoulder.

“There was this time that a coach from a rival team was quoted in the newspaper,” he said. “(The coach) said, ‘The kid from PV should make (the race) interesting.’ Dan went out there and he whipped everybody. He didn’t want to be known as ‘The Kid.’”

Noxon, the cross country coach at PV, said he heard about Dunlap’s death while at the district cross country meet.

“The news was crushing,” he said, “but it was fitting that I found out at a meet.”

Nicholas said her brother, “was the best of all of us.”

“He would drop everything to help any of us. He was everybody’s friend and everybody loved him,” she said.

Dunlap has a son, Drew, 16.

Calling hours for Dunlap will be held Thursday at Andover Christian Church, 1269 Stillman Avenue, from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m., with a memorial service to follow.

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