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Ralph E. DUNHAM Jr.

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Ralph E. DUNHAM Jr. Obituary
POQUOSON - Ralph Earl Dunham Jr., 67, died at home on April 24, 2012.
Earl was a native of Columbia, S.C., and a graduate of the University of South Carolina with a degree in mechanical engineering. He moved to Virginia in 1967 as an engineer for NASA Langley, where he earned a master's degree in aeronautical engineering from George Washington University. His NASA research career focused on solutions to safety and operating problems of aircraft. He retired in 1998 after 31 years of service.
Earl loved sports. He was previously competitive in tennis and running, and was proud of having completed 10 marathons. Happiest around the water, he sailed many miles around the Bay and off-shore on his boats and those of friends. One of his most treasured memories was the year he spent cruising the East Coast and Caribbean with his family. He enjoyed his bi-annual hikes with the Gnarly Dudes on the Appalachian Trail where his trail name was Exit Earl, and he was also an avid skier and windsurfer.
The family offers thanks to his nephrologists and the home care team at Renal Advantage for giving him additional years to continue the active lifestyle which meant so much to him.
He was a proud member of Hampton Yacht Club, Windsurfing Enthusiasts of Tidewater (WET), and Peninsula International Gourmet Society (PIGS), and an associate member of Tabernacle United Methodist Church in Poquoson.
Earl is survived by his wife of 28 years, Dana Jerkins Dunham; stepdaughter, Kathleen Mason and husband, Brian; grandchildren, Grace and Daniel, of Yorktown; and sister, Nancy Dunham, of Columbia, S.C. He is also survived by sister-in-law, Judith Jerkins, of Tinton Falls, N.J.; brother-in-law, Jim Jerkins and wife, Delaine, of Garland, Texas; niece, Erin Jerkins, of Raleigh, N.C.; and nephew, David Jerkins, of Houston, Texas.
A memorial service will be held today, at 2 p.m. at Tabernacle United Methodist Church, Poquoson by the Rev. Dr. Bill Wash and the Rev. Carol Bookwalter. Immediately following the service a reception will be held in the church social hall, and at other times the family will be at his home. Inurnment will be private at a later date.
Memorial contributions may be made to Hampton Yacht Club Elevator Fund, 4707 Victoria Blvd., Hampton, VA 23669 or Tabernacle UMC, 831 Poquoson Ave., Poquoson, VA 23662. View and post condolences on our online guestbook at dailypress.com/guestbooks.

Published in Daily Press from Apr. 26 to Apr. 28, 2012
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