Marvin was one of a team of 6 pilots, in 3 aeroplanes, who made an attempt on the world endurance flight record (which stood at 22.5 hrs), in Sarasota, Florida in April 1940. However, he had to land after just over 6 hrs in the air, as they were getting low on fuel and efforts to refuel them in the air had failed.
Address in 1941: 1913 3rd Ave, Bessemer, Alabama.
Brief Glory says he had "black curly hair, rolling eyes, a broken nose and an accent you could cut with a knife. A disconcerting habit he had of rolling his head from side to side was due to an early boxing accident."
When asked about his opinion of England, he said "Gee, that's a terrible country! I can't think why they don't cut all their balloon cables and let the god-damn country sink to the bottom of the sea."
He was awarded a Certificate of Commendation for his part in the rescue of the crew of a returning operational Halifax III of No. 420 Squadron, piloted by Flt Lt R. A. Kalle which, having been damaged during a sortie over Normandy, overshot the runway and caught fire at White Waltham on the 30th July 1944.
The full list of those commended was:
- pilots David Cotter (M.439), Reginald Davidson (M.918), Marvin Dunlavy (M.408), Alan Murray (M.1053);
- Fire Officer D Baldwin,
- Senior Flight Engineer Kenneth Payne, Engineer Second Officer Albert Gardner, Engineer Third Officer John Gulson, Engineer Second Officer Francis Lees, Engineer Third Officer Donald Soutter, and
- Mr J.J. Thompson.
d. 17 Oct 2003, California.
The East Bay Times, Oct. 26, 2003: "When he returned from the war, M.H. opened Bessemer's first Airport, teaching and sharing his love of flying with many local residents. He was married for forty-five years to the love of his life, Carolyn Masingil and had two daughters, Marilyn and Anne. He went on to become a Captain with Capitol Airways. He later owned a boat rental and resort at Lakeport, California, continuing to fly and maintaining his flight instructors license into his seventies.
He was fortunate enough to return to Bessemer and Clarksville, Tennessee to visit family and friends for his eighty-seventh birthday. Graveside service was held at Cedar Hills Cemetery in Bessemer on Monday, October 20th at 11 AM.
M.H. is survived by his daughters, Marilyn Dunlavy (Todd) Plum of Martinez, California, Anne Dunlavy of Napa, California, brother, Louis "Eddie" Dunlavy of Bessemer, granddaughter Elizabeth (Lisa) Karen Dunlavy and great-grandson Phillip Harrison Wierson, both of Bogart, Georgia."
His son Marvin Harrison Dunlavy III, (by his first wife Jane Bell Crosby), was killed in 1969 when the truck he was driving went off the road nr Yanceyville, N.C.