Cordula Juliane Fery-Dunstan was born in Oberhausen, Rhineland, Germany on May 6, 1928 as the second child to Dr. Aloys Fery and his wife Maria Sandgathe-Fery. She grew up and attended schools in Trier Germany, Germany’s oldest city, graduating with a certificate of Maturity (Abitur) majoring in Science and Languages. She then attended the Johannes Gutenburg University in Mainz, Germany and studied Sociology.
Through the eyes of a child, Corda experienced the rise of Hilter’s Germany, the horrors of Nazi policies and war in her hometown and country, and the relief of liberation at the end of the war. When she was 17, and WWII finally ended, she and her family spent another eight months as refugees before they were able to return home. Despite this terrifying backdrop, Corda had a loving and nurturing family and many joyful experiences growing up. Corda sang for several years in an acclaimed choir that gave many public concerts in Germany and France. She often spoke of the many cultural and historical influences of her hometown Trier and the lovely Mosel land which left an unforgettable imprint on her soul and mind.
In 1954, Corda worked in Germany as the manager’s secretary in a large US department store and later as Secretary-Interpreter for a NATO Air Base Commander (USAF) in Bitburg near her hometown of Trier. During this time, she met her future husband, Marvin Dunstan, who was working as a US civilian in Germany for the European Exchange Service (EES). On February 8, 1956 Marvin and Corda married, and they lived in several European cities before they returned to Oregon In September 1957. Three children were born to them: Joan Mary (died in 1961), Catherine Rita and Daniel James.
Corda quickly attained her US Citizenship, and attended the University of Portland, graduating with a BA in education in 1970, after which she began teaching. After attending Summer and night classes, she obtained her master’s degree in education in 1976. She taught at Powell Valley Elementary School in Gresham, OR for 16 years until her retirement in 1986. Over the years, she also tutored students of the German language at the YWCA and at Mt. Hood Community College in Gresham.
Corda lived with her family in Gresham from 1962 until 1994. She was an active member of St. Henry’s Catholic Church, a member of NEA, OEA, GGTA, the National Right to Life, and the Oregon Women’s Symphony Gresham Group. In 1978, she was selected as Woman of the Year by the Gresham chapter of the American Businesswoman’s Association. After retirement, she volunteered with her husband Marvin at SNO-CAP, an interdenominational Social Action Group. Among her hobbies were the study of history and art, music appreciation, reading, traveling, cooking and family genealogy. She left a legacy of love for her friends and neighbors, helping others when she saw a need.
Corda and Marvin moved to Twin Falls, Idaho in February of 1994 where she enjoyed being a member of St. Edwards Catholic church and spending time with her many new-found friends. Together with her husband, she loved to explore Idaho and its beautiful mountains. In November of 2016, Corda and Marvin moved back to Junction City, Oregon to be closer to their children.
Corda is survived by her daughter Cathy Swancutt (Scott), son Dan Dunstan (Vicki), ten grandchildren, three great-grandchildren (so far), a sister Rita Fery-Jager in Germany and Rita’s four children Michael, Gaby, Monica and Cordula, and their families.
Corda was a loving and caring person in all her relationships. Family was always a priority and she unwaveringly loved and supported them in all their endeavors. Her faith in God and her family were the anchors of her life. May the angels welcome her into Paradise.
A rosary and mass will be celebrated in her honor at St. Helens Catholic Church in Junction City, OR February 1st, 2020.
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