Master Sgt. Jonathan Dunbar

Master Sgt. Jonathan Dunbar

Borderland residents are remembering a family member serving as a soldier in the United States Army who was killed Friday in Syria by an improvised explosive device.

The U.S. Department of Defense announced last week the death of Master Sgt. Jonathan J. Dunbar, 36, of Austin, Texas, who was supporting Operation Inherent Resolve when the device detonated near his patrol. The incident is under investigation.

Dunbar was born in International Falls July 15, 1981, and still has family in the area. His uncle, Bob Dunbar, of Ranier, spoke highly of his nephew.

“He was a great fishing buddy,” he said. “I’ll certainly miss him.”

Jonathan’s aunt, Joyce LaFreniere of Fort Frances, said Jonathan only lived in International Falls for a few years. The family relocated to Texas after Jonathan’s father, Ted Dunbar, lost his job at Boise’s Insulite when it closed in 1984. Jonathan frequently visited the area throughout his life, she said.

Jonathan joined the Army in 2005 and earned numerous awards, including three bronze stars and Army Commendation Medal. He served multiple tours in both Afghanistan and Iraq over the past 13 years. He was currently stationed at Fort Bragg in North Carolina.

“He was very humble,” LaFreniere said. “He was a very loving man...adored everyone in his family.”

“It’s certainly a loss for our family,” Bob Dunbar added. “You never think it’ll happen to you.”

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