James Clayton Dunham, of Kinderhook, NY, passed away on December 18, 2023 with his best friend and loving wife of 59 years, Bonnie (Becker) Dunham, by his side. In addition to Bonnie, Jim is survived by son, George H. (Bud) Dunham and Trish J. Brown, and daughter, Laurie Dunham Maul and Thomas M. Maul, all of East Sandwich, MA, and three beloved grandchildren, Clayton T. Maul of New York City, Katherine M. Dunham of Providence, RI, and Caroline D. Maul of Austin, TX.
Born on August 7, 1942 to George H. (Bud) Dunham and Mary Van Alstyne Dunham, Jim was raised at Sunnyside Farm in Kinderhook following the death of his father in World War II. His children often remark how someone who never knew his own father could be such an exceptional one. These traits were fostered by seven maternal and fraternal aunts and uncles, and six cousins, all of whom looked out for him and his mother and played a significant role in his life. Jim was also close to his mother and father-in-law, Bill and Ruth Becker of Valatie, NY, his four brothers and sisters-in-law, fourteen nieces and nephews.
Of all his passions in life, family was the most important. The Village of Kinderhook, his church, baseball, country music, and chocolate were close seconds. Jim volunteered for over five decades in various roles and committees with the Village, ultimately serving on the Village Trustees and several terms as Mayor. This extensive service was recognized this summer with the naming of Dunham Park in the Village Square, an honor that both humbled him and filled him with immense pride.
His commitment to public service extended to active roles in the Kinderhook Reformed Church, where he served on the consistory and cemetery committee for many years. He was a longstanding volunteer firefighter and coached Little League for three decades, all testament to his civic willingness to lend a hand whenever and wherever needed. Jim was a baseball fanatic with a deep love of the Cleveland baseball team and his hometown Kinderhook Robins. He liked old school country music and loved family vacations in the Adirondacks and on Cape Cod.
Jim earned his B.S. in Civil Engineering from Worcester Polytechnic Institute, obtained his Professional Engineer license, and enjoyed a 35-year career with the New York State Department of Transportation.
In all these endeavors, it was Jim's humility, sincerity, kindness, and love that shone through. He was an exemplary son, husband, father, and grandfather, a civic leader, and an all-around good person.
A wake will be held at the Raymond E. Bond Funeral Home in Valatie on Thursday, December 21, from 4:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m. A celebration of life will be held at the Kinderhook Reformed Church at 11:00 a.m. on Friday, December 22, with a burial to follow at the Kinderhook Cemetery. Please visit raymondbondfh.com.
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In Loving Memory
1942 - 2023
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