Robert Leon Dunlap, of North Charleston, a 52-year veteran of the Charleston County Volunteer Fire and Rescue Squad, died Thursday. He was 83.

Dunlap was born in Charleston and attended local schools before serving in the Army during the Korean War.

He later began a career with the Charleston Naval Shipyard, where he received numerous commendations and awards, including the Navy Meritorious Civilian Service Award, which was given to him when he retired.

Both during and after his civil service career, Dunlap served as a member of the North Charleston Volunteer Rescue Association, which he also helped found.

The association, comprised of unpaid community members, assisted with rescue operations, responding to fires and auto accidents, among other tasks.

Dunlap became the association's first treasurer, a position he held for more than 50 years, and also worked primarily as the operator of the fatality transport unit, delivering corpses to the morgue.

In 1973, the association was expanded to include the rest of the county, becoming the Charleston County Volunteer and Fire Rescue Squad.

Dunlap continued serving as a volunteer well into his retirement, earning a number of community awards including the Order of the Palmetto. The rescue squad's current North Charleston headquarters, which opened in 2003, was named in his honor.

Dunlap is survived by his wife, Gloria Massalon Dunlap, his son, Robert Dunlap Jr. and a granddaughter.

A funeral service has been scheduled for 10 a.m. Monday at Advent Lutheran Church in North Charleston. Burial with military honors will follow at Carolina Memorial Park. Arrangements are being handled by Stuhr's Northwoods Chapel.