'Extraordinary Leader, Educator'; Public Memorial Service Is Scheduled for Tuesday at FCCJ Kent Campus

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Byline: JESSIE-LYNNE KERR

Florida Community College at Jacksonville Kent Campus President Duane D. Dumbleton, widely known for his human relations efforts in the community, died Wednesday of brain cancer. He was 66.

He will be buried today in a private Baha'i faith ceremony at Jacksonville Memory Gardens in Orange Park.

There will be a public memorial service at 3:30 p.m. Tuesday at the Kent Campus auditorium followed by dedication of the Dr. Duane D. Dumbleton Reflection Garden.

"The college and the community have lost an extraordinary leader and educator, as well as a treasured friend," said FCCJ President Steven Wallace. "Duane Dumbleton's presence in the community has left an indelible mark of grace, intelligence and dignity."

Dr. Dumbleton grew up in a family of 10 children on a farm in Shioctin, Wis.. He received a bachelor's degree from the University of Wisconsin in 1962, a master's degree from Syracuse University in 1969 and his doctorate in education from the University of Georgia in 1973.

While a college student, he joined the Baha'i faith, which emphasizes the spiritual unity of mankind. Dr. Dumbleton remained a leader in the Baha'i community in Northeast Florida and was active with the Baha'i Spiritual Assembly of Jacksonville.

He joined the faculty of what was then called Florida Junior College as a professor of social sciences and humanities in 1973. In 1978, he was appointed division chair for fine arts, humanities, speech and foreign languages at the South Campus.

He held various leadership posts at the college, including executive assistant to former President Charles Spence, director of program and staff development, and in 1988 he was promoted to president of the Downtown Campus. He took the helm at the Kent Campus in 1997.

Even as he ascended the educational leadership ladder at the college, Dr. Dumbleton continued to teach world religion.

"My main goal is to teach the oneness of humanity," he told the Times-Union in 2001. "I try to teach and to demonstrate in my personal life that we are one."

Dr. Dumbleton, who was white, said during the same interview that his marriage to an African-American woman -- with whom he had their five children -- was a huge reason he worked to eliminate prejudice.

Dr. Dumbleton was a past chairman of the Northeast Florida Center for Community and Justice, formerly a branch of the National Conference of Christians and Jews. …