Rickey Dunnavant, age 67, of Monroeville died on Aug. 22 at Monroe County Hospital.
Rickey was the first born to Charlie and Lois Dunnavant on May 26, 1948.
He leaves to cherish his memories, his sweet, loving wife, Linda Dunnavant; three daughters Wendy Prine (David); April Dunnavant and Sandy Dunnavant, all of Monroeville; six grandchildren, Scotty Dunnavant, David Prine, Emma Claire Prine, DJ Frost Halford, Kolbie Frost and Avery Frost; two great-grandchildren, Chaston Halford and Chase Halford; one brother, Billy Dunnavant of Monroeville; and one sister, Deborah Smith of Greenville; and many loved nieces and nephews.
He is preceded in death by his wonderful parents, Charlie and Lois Dunnavant.
Mr. Dunnavant was an active supporter of the military and our country. At the young age of 18, he joined the United States Marine Corps. With great honor he proudly served his country and fought in the Vietnam War from 1967 to 1969. Upon returning from Vietnam, he married his one and only true love, Linda Williamson. It was on the wedding date of July 25, 1969, 46 years ago, that the adventure began. In 1978 Rickey moved his family to Monroeville to help build and start up Alabama River Pulp. Rickey worked for ARP for 10 years, then ventured out to self-employment which was often questioned, but unmistakably, the best life decision he could have made. With full support from his wife and with her by his side every day, they raised their family and life was wonderful and blessed.
Rickey owned several businesses, but his favorite by far was his restaurant, The Mockingbird Grill. His love for eating and cooking shined through in his work every day. The Grill was not just a place to eat, but also where many friendships began and long lasting relationships were made. Everyone that worked there was loved very much and considered an extension of the Dunnavant family.
Rickey was very proud of his family, his girls and his grandchildren. He loved his daughters unconditionally and accepted the challenge of living under the roof with four women. It was rough at times, but with the birth of his first grandchild, a boy, he felt like God had smiled down on him. From the time Scotty could safely stand on the truck seat or ride the Goldwing strapped in by a bungie cord, they were inseparable.
Rickey was a great family man and loving father. He tried very hard to instill important life lessons in his children and grandchildren. The things he said weren’t always pretty and tears were shed a lot, but his point was made and for his words of wisdom, hopefully, we will become exactly what he knew we could be.
Rickey became a member of Alabama Lodge #3 of Free and Accepted Masons in Monroeville on June 5, 1978, where he was a Worshipful Master from 1996-1997. He was also a member of Monroeville York Rite Bodies and a member of Alabama Abba Shiners of Mobile.
Rickey was also a member of Eastwood Baptist Church.
Family and friends please know that Rickey Dunnavant lived a full and happy life. It was the last two years that were hard and challenging with the last six months being the worst days. We knew the passing was close, but this day was truly unexpected. Rickey and his family talked about death and dying daily. He made his wishes very clear. Please take comfort in knowing that when the end of his earthly life was near, there was no suffering, no pain and no struggle. He was surrounded by his family and with great pride; we honored his last dying wish. The Dunnavant family would like to encourage you all to talk to your family members about dying; it is something we all will do. Be pro-active in your family member’s end of life decisions. Respect them and let them tell you what they want.
At Rickey’s request, his organs were donated in hopes of providing a life-changing gift for someone.
Visitation and funeral services were held at Johnson Funeral Home on Aug. 24 with burial at Rumbley Cemetery in Peterman, Alabama.
In lieu of flowers, contributions may be made to Pilots for Christ or Shriners Hospitals for Children.
Johnson Funeral Home was in charge of all arrangements. Visit our online registry at: www.johnsonfh.org.