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Dudley "Dutch" Dunham Obituary

Dudley "Dutch" Dunham February 19, 1932 - January 14, 2013 Dad was born February 19, 1932 in Pico Rivera, CA to Frank and Lillie Dunham. He was the youngest of five. His parents were originally from Missouri and they came out west to California during the Great Depression. His earliest memories were of living in a log cabin near the mine his father worked at, bouncing around in a Model 'T' era car, and picking fruit in the orchards in Santa Clara. Dad moved with his family up and down the state as his father found work in different cities trying to make ends meet. As a result Dad attended many different schools. In 1952, at the age of 20, he enlisted in the Marine Corps and served four years active duty. This was during the Korean War but Dad was not sent overseas as he was needed at home teaching aviation electronics and radar. Dad also served 4 years reserve and was honorably discharged in January, 1960. He carried his love for the Corps to his grave. After being discharged, Dad worked in the paving industry and eventually started his own business known as D&B Paving. His business partner was Sonny Burch, and the company remained in operation for 24 years. In 1966, Dad married Patricia Key-Drennan and became a father to her two young sons, Phillip and Scott. Together they had us girls Devra and Angela. Dad was a devoted and doting father and gave us the amazing gift of his time. He took us camping, taught us how to fish, and instilled in us a love of the outdoors and being in the mountains. Someone once said of my Dad that "he was a good 'ol boy in search of a drink of cold mountain water". That sums him up perfectly. In 1987, Dad married Jeri Peterson who would remain his steadfast wife and companion for the rest of his life. It was also around this time that Dad switched careers and went to work for the Kern County Building Department as a Building Inspector 1. He became certified by the International Code Council as a plumbing, mechanical, and electrical specialist and was promoted to Building Inspector 4 - District Supervisor in Mojave. He held this position for 7 years. He then went to work for the City of Delano for six years, also as a building inspector. Dad tried to retire after that but he preferred staying busy and went to work for WZI for two years. Even in retirement, Dad never stopped learning. He surrounded himself with books and tried to increase his knowledge on topics that interested him. He was a wealth of information. Dad was an avid deer hunter and was great at tracking. He spent many years with his life-long friends and great nephew, Jason Rooney, walking the mountains in California in search of "The Big One". He also liked to duck hunt. I remember Dad coming home after a day of duck hunting and chasing us kids around the house quacking with a dead duck in his hands. In his later years Dad developed a love of the desert, and made many trips to Death Valley with his son-in-law Chris, or great friend, Ignacio, where they would explore the back country. Dad surrounded himself with people of honor and character. Earl and Charlotte Reynolds, Ronnie and Helena Foster, Vickie and Al Caetano, Charlie and Gail Forshee, Ignacio and Anna Morales, Matthew and Yolanda Alexander, Bob Friend, Dave and Phyllis Gillis... and countless others... you all enriched my dad's life greatly and I know the feeling was mutual. On January 1, Dad had a heart attack, but remained with us two more precious weeks. It allowed him time to reminisce with all his friends and relatives, and share wonderful stories of times gone by. Dad was not a religious man, but he believed in God and made the choice to answer the call and be baptized. What a tremendous comfort this has been to us. Dad was preceded in death by his parents, Frank and Lillie Dunham; his siblings, John, Genesee, and Jo; nephew Ray Rooney; stepson, Scott Drennan; and stepgrandson, Brent Wanagitis. Survivors include his wife, Jeri Dunham, her daughter, Tanya Baker (Lehman) and stepgrandsons, Skylar and Taylor Johnston; his sister, Betty (Bill) Henley and nephews Cameron and Matthew Henley; daughters, Devra (Darren) Ryker; Angela (Chris) Hullah; grandsons, Dillon Ryker, Brendan Hullah and Grant Hullah; and granddaughter, Alexa (Mike) Ryker-Puckett; great nephew, Jason (Jennifer) Rooney and their sons, Connor and Colton. Dad was also considered a second father to Mike, Laura, and Jennifer Reynolds. He loved you guys as his own. We would like to thank Dr. Nyitray and Dr. Nalos. We are eternally grateful to you both for giving us 20+ extra years with our dad. Thank you to the staff at the Heart Hospital and thank you to Hoffmann Hospice; you are all so wonderful. A memorial service will be held at First Presbyterian Church, 1705 17th Street, on Friday, January 25, at 10:00 a.m. This will be followed by internment of his ashes, with full military honors, at the Bakersfield National Cemetery, 30338 East Bear Mountain Blvd., at 1:30 p.m. In keeping with Dad's wishes, he will be buried with a bottle of black sand from the shores of Iwo Jima where over 6,000 Marines give their lives. In lieu of flowers, please make a donation to THE WOUNDED HERO'S FUND, 3121 Standard St., Bakersfield, Ca. 93308. If you have a special memory of Dad that you would like to share with us, please email You will forever be in our hearts, Dad. You were simply the best.

This obituary was originally published in the Bakersfield Californian.
Read Full Obituary for Dudley Dunham
Published online on January 20, 2013 courtesy of Bakersfield Californian.

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