Harry Dunlavy was born in Fresno, California and attended School there.  On his eighteenth birthday he joined the U.S. Marine Corps.  He received basic training in San Diego, and since he played the trumpet, he was assigned to the Marine Corps Band. After several months he was transferred to Shanghai, China, where he joined the Fourth Marines.

After spending eighteen months in Shanghai, he was sent to the Philippine Islands in the early part of 1941 and was on Corregidor, Philippines when the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor on December 7th, 1941.  One week later the Japanese bombed the Philippines and they were under attack periodically.  On May 6th, 1941, General Jonathan Wainwright, who had assumed command when General MacArthur left the Philippines, surrendered to the Japanese, and the Americans became prisoners of war.

He was sent from the Philippines to a camp in Mukden, Manchuria to work in a tool & die company.  He was there for three winters until they were liberated by the Russian Army in August 1945.

Harry remained in the Marine Corps to see duty in Korea and Vietnam, retiring as a Sergeant Major in 1968.

Since returning to Fresno for the last time in 1984, Harry was active in the Fresno Chapter of the American Ex-Pow's, serving nine years as the chapter commander.  He is a past Master of the Masonic Lodge, was an officer in the Fresno Scottish Rite Bodies and Chaplain of the Tehran Temple Shriners.  He also directed the men's chorus of the Scottish Rite.  After his year as Master of the Masonic Lodge, Harry officiated at over two hundred Masonic Funerals.  

Harry and Betty, his wife of fifty-four years, were blessed with one daughter, Margaret.

Harry was acquainted with Chuck Monges, who in 1992 invited him to drop by the Legion of Valor Museum for a tour.  As soon he saw it, he was hooked and volunteered to be a docent.  Harry spent one day a week at the museum until health problems forced him to retire.