Obituary of Nelson C. Dunham


Nelson (Ned) Charles Dunham Jr., of 32 Pearl Street, Cortland, NY, passed away July 19th at age 89.

Born March 11, 1931, in Johnson City, NY, he was the son of the late Nelson and Rose Shawkey Dunham.

A graduate of Binghamton Central High School, Ned attended Triple Cities College of Syracuse University, which was interrupted by four years of service in the U.S. Air Force during the Korean Conflict (1950-1954). He later received a Bachelor of Science from SUNY Empire State College.

His first wife, Kathryn Reiff Dunham, predeceased him in 1987, and he is survived by their four children: Cmdr. Julie Hughes, USN (Ret.) of Charleston, SC, Susan (Craig) Skinner of Oreland, PA, Kathleen (John) Millier of Newfield, NY, and Brian (Sarah) Dunham of Garden City, NY. Ned was a loving grandfather to his eight grandchildren: Andrea, Alec, Kathryn, Elizabeth, Robert, John, William and Emily, and to his great-grandsons Matthew and Theodore.

In Binghamton, Ned was a partner with his brother Raymond Dunham of The Brothers, a downtown restaurant. In 1966 he moved to Ithaca, NY, where he continued his careers in the restaurant business (Stone House Inn) and in the life and health insurance business, joining American Agriculturist in 1981. In 2000 he moved to Cortland, NY where he and his second wife, Laurie Dunham (deceased June 21, 2020) continued the insurance agency they jointly founded in 1996.

Ned was recognized as a truly gifted pianist and performed with many of the finest jazz musicians in Central New York. He was a member of three different local Musician’s Unions, with over 45 years of membership.

Ned enjoyed his over 25 years of membership in the Ithaca Rotary club, serving on the board and as president of the Savage Club of Ithaca, the Tompkins County Center for the Performing Arts, Visiting Nurse Service of Ithaca, and musical director of the Ithachords (SPEBSQSA). In addition, he did service on behalf of the YMCA, the United Fund, and the Republican Party, and was a member of the American Legion Post 489.

Arrangements are being made by the Wright-Beard Funeral Home, and internment will be in Pleasant Grove Cemetery in Ithaca; there are no calling hours. Those wishing to make a memorial contribution are asked to consider Special Love (for Children with Cancer), 117 Youth Development Court, Winchester VA, 22602 (website: in special memory of his grandson, Alec Santora (1986-2000).

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