James Dunham Obituary, Death Cause – In the quiet town of Kinderhook, New York, the community mourns the loss of a beloved figure, James Clayton Dunham, who departed on December 18, 2023. A pillar of the community, Jim passed away with his devoted wife and best friend of 59 years, Bonnie (Becker) Dunham, by his side. As they bid farewell to a man whose life was woven with love, dedication, and service, Jim is survived by his son George H. (Bud) Dunham and Trish J. Brown, daughter Laurie Dunham Maul and Thomas M. Maul, and three cherished grandchildren, Clayton T. Maul, Katherine M. Dunham, and Caroline D. Maul.
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Jim’s journey began on August 7, 1942, as the son of George H. (Bud) Dunham and Mary Van Alstyne Dunham. Raised at Sunnyside Farm in Kinderhook after his father’s tragic death in World War II, Jim grew into an exceptional man. Despite never knowing his own father, Jim’s remarkable qualities as a parent were evident to all who knew him. Surrounded by seven maternal and fraternal aunts and uncles and six cousins, Jim’s family extended beyond blood, fostering his character and shaping his values. His close relationship with his in-laws, Bill and Ruth Becker, four brothers and sisters-in-law, and fourteen nieces and nephews further enriched his life.
Family was Jim’s true passion, eclipsing all else. The picturesque Village of Kinderhook held a special place in his heart, and he dedicated over five decades to its service. From various roles to the Village Trustees and multiple terms as Mayor, Jim’s commitment to Kinderhook was unparalleled. This summer, the village honored his extensive service by naming Dunham Park in the Village Square, a gesture that both humbled and filled him with immense pride.
Beyond the village, Jim’s dedication extended to the Kinderhook Reformed Church, where he served on the consistory and cemetery committee for many years. A longstanding volunteer firefighter, he also coached little league for three decades, embodying civic duty and a willingness to lend a helping hand. Baseball was another one of Jim’s great loves, and he was an avid supporter of the Cleveland baseball team and his hometown Kinderhook Robins.