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Byline: DAVID QUICK
PHOTOS: Bill Dunleavy, co-owner of Dunleavy's Pub, and all Dunleavy family members rent white polyester tuxedoes and green bow ties for the pub's annual New Year's polar bear swim from a very understanding owner of The Black Tie shop.
See PDF for the following provided photos of Bill Dunleavy and his family: Dunleavy earned a partial scholarship pitching for Quinnipiac College in Hamden, Conn. He's pictured here during his freshman year in spring 1970.
Patti and Bill Dunleavy (at ages 6 and 4, respectively, in the summer of 1954) are the eldest of seven Dunleavy children.
Dunleavy caught the sailing bug in the 1970s, and among his adventures was surviving a tropical storm with others on a trip to Bermuda in 1986. He is pictured after the storm had passed.
The Dunleavy family, a traditional Irish Catholic family, poses for a photo in 1970. From left, Patti, her daughter Jennifer, Bill, George (the dad), George (the brother), Suzan, Tommy (foreground), Brian, mom Regina, Glenn, and Patti's son, Jamie Maher.
SULLIVAN'S ISLAND-Everything in Bill Dunleavy's life just seems to happen naturally.
Take, for example, the Charleston area's single biggest New Year's Day tradition - the Dunleavy's Pub Polar Bear Swim.
On New Year's Day 1995, Dunleavy and a half-dozen buddies were at the pub watching football when Dunleavy and friend Lou Elia, both New England Yankees, decided they would take a plunge in the Atlantic, similar to what the hearty/foolish do in much colder climes around the planet for the heck of it.
"We walked down to the beach, jumped in the water, came back to the pub and said to everyone, 'You just missed the first annual Polar Bear Swim,' " recalls Dunleavy, who has co-owned the pub with sister Patti Dunleavy Maher for 11-1/2 years.
In recent years, thousands of people have made the 1 p.m. march from the pub down to the beach, partly thanks to the Lowcountry's often balmy New Year's weather, to jump in the water or just watch the madness.
And now, after raising $12,000 last year for a Special Olympics gymnast to compete in Dublin, the event has a purpose to go along with the revelry: continued support of Special Olympics teams. This year's event will raise money for a local swim team.
It seems appropriate that the fun-loving event is tied to sports because so much of Bill Dunleavy's life, as well as the lives of his siblings, has been tied to athletics.