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Stanley Armour Dunham

Stanley Armour Dunham
Born (1918-03-23)March 23, 1918
Wichita, Kansas, U.S.
Died February 8, 1992(1992-02-08) (aged 73)
Honolulu, Hawaii, U.S.
Buried at Punchbowl National Cemetery, Honolulu, Hawaii, U.S.
Allegiance  United States of America
Service/branch United States Army
Years of service 1942–1945
Rank Sergeant
Unit 1830th Ordnance Supply and Maintenance Company
Third Army
Battles/wars World War II
Relations Madelyn Payne Dunham (spouse)
Stanley Ann Dunham (daughter)
Barack Obama (grandson)
Maya Soetoro-Ng (granddaughter)
Ralph Waldo Emerson Dunham, Sr. and Ruth Lucille Armour (parents)[1]
Other work Salesman

Stanley Armour Dunham (March 23, 1918 – February 8, 1992) was the maternal grandfather of U.S. President Barack Obama. He and his wife Madelyn Payne Dunham raised Obama from the age of 10 in Honolulu, Hawaii.[2][3]


  • Early life and education 1
  • Career 2
    • World War II 2.1
    • Post-World War II 2.2
    • Hawaii 2.3
  • Death 3
  • Personal life 4
  • References 5
  • External links 6

Early life and education

Dunham was born in Wichita, Kansas, the younger of two sons to Ralph Waldo Emerson Dunham, Sr. (December 25, 1894, Sumner County, Kansas - October 4, 1970, Wichita, Kansas) and Ruth Lucille Armour (September 1, 1900, Illinois - November 25, 1926, Wichita, Kansas). His father's ancestors settled in Kempton, Indiana, in the 1840s, before relocating to Kansas.[4] His parents were married on October 3, 1915, at a home on South Saint Francis St. in Wichita, and opened The Travelers' Cafe on William Street situated between the old firehouse and the old Wichita City Hall.[5][6]

On November 25, 1926, at age 8, Dunham discovered his mother's body after she had committed suicide. Following his mother's suicide, his father placed Stanley and his older brother Ralph Emerson Dunham, Jr. in the care of their maternal grandparents in El Dorado, Kansas.[7] A rebellious teenager, Stanley allegedly punched his high school principal and spent some time drifting, hopping rail cars to Chicago, California, and back again.[8] Dunham married Madelyn Lee Payne on May 5, 1940, the night of Madelyn's senior prom.[9]


World War II

Stanley Dunham, daughter Ann Dunham, grandchildren Maya and Barack

Dunham enlisted as a private in the U.S. Army on January 18, 1942, at Fort Leavenworth, Kansas, and served in the European Theatre of World War II with the 1830th Ordnance Supply and Maintenance Company, Aviation. During D-Day, this unit helped to support the 9th Air Force. Stanley and his brother Ralph were deployed to France six weeks after D-Day. Before the Invasion of Normandy, the Dunhams once met accidentally as Stanley went in search of rations at Hotel Russell in London, where his sibling Ralph happened to be staying.[10] Madelyn gave birth to a daughter they named Stanley Ann, who was later known as Ann, at St. Francis Hospital in Wichita on November 29, 1942. During the war, Madelyn Dunham worked on a Boeing B-29 assembly line in Wichita.[11][12]

Post-World War II

After two years of military service in Europe (1943–1945), Dunham was discharged from the U.S. Army on August 30, 1945. After the war, the family moved to Berkeley, California and then eventually back to El Dorado, Kansas, where Stanley managed a furniture store. In 1955, Stanley and Madelyn moved to Seattle, Washington, where he worked as a salesman for the Standard-Grunbaum Furniture Company, where their daughter Stanley Ann attended Eckstein Middle School. They lived in an apartment in the Wedgewood Estates in the Wedgwood, Seattle neighborhood. In 1956 they moved to the Shorewood Apartments on Mercer Island, a Seattle suburb, where they lived until 1960 and where their daughter Ann attended Mercer Island High School. In 1957 Stanley began working for the Doces Majestic Furniture Company.[13][14][15]


The Dunhams then moved to Honolulu, Hawaii, where Stanley found a better furniture store opportunity. Madelyn started working at the Bank of Hawaii in 1960, and was promoted as one of the first female bank vice presidents in 1970.[16][17]

In Barack Obama's memoir, Dreams From My Father, he mentions, "One of my earliest memories is of sitting on my grandfather's shoulders as the astronauts from one of the Apollo missions arrived at Hickam Air Force Base after a successful splashdown." After the Obama marriage fell apart, the young Barack spent four years with his mother and stepfather in Jakarta, Indonesia. He returned to Honolulu at age ten to live with his maternal grandparents in the Makiki district and enrolled in the fifth grade at the Punahou School. The tuition fees for the prestigious preparatory school were paid with the aid of scholarships. Ann would later come back to Hawaii and pursue graduate studies; she eventually earned a PhD in anthropology and went on to be employed on development projects in Indonesia and around the world helping impoverished women obtain microfinance. When she returned to Indonesia in 1977 for her Masters' fieldwork, Obama stayed in the United States with his grandparents. Obama writes in his memoir, Dreams From My Father, "I’d arrived at an unspoken pact with my grandparents: I could live with them and they'd leave me alone so long as I kept my trouble out of sight."[18][19]


Dunham died in Honolulu, Hawaii on February 8, 1992 and is interred in the Punchbowl National Cemetery. His widow Madelyn took care of their daughter in Hawaii in the months before Ann died in 1995 at age 52.[18]

Personal life

Dunham's heritage consists of English and Irish and other European ancestors who settled in the American colonies during the 17th and 18th centuries. Stanley is a direct descendent of Jonathan Singletary Dunham a prominent early American settler who left the Plymouth Colony to build the first gristmill in New Jersey.

The most recent native European ancestor was Falmouth Kearney, a farmer who emigrated from Moneygall, County Offaly, Ireland, during the Great Irish Famine and settled in Jefferson Township, Tipton County, Indiana, United States. Kearney's youngest daughter, Mary Ann (Kearney) Dunham, was Stanley Dunham's paternal grandmother.[20]

Stanley Armour Dunham’s distant cousins include six U.S. presidents:

  • "Family precedent: Obama's grandmother blazed trails'" USA Today, April 8, 2008
  • "Remembering Madelyn Dunham" Honolulu Advertiser, November 15, 2008, includes photo gallery and memorial service video

External links

  1. ^
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  3. ^
  4. ^ See The Dunham House.
  5. ^
  6. ^ a b
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  14. ^ [1]
  15. ^ [2]
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  18. ^ a b
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  25. ^ Boston Genealogical Society Confirms Obama and "Wild Bill" Hickok Are Cousins New England Historic Genealogical Society, 2008-07-30. Retrieved January 13, 2013.
  26. ^


Ancestry chart source: New England Historic Genealogical Society[26]

Jacob Mackey Dunham
Jacob William Dunham
Louise Eliza Stroup
Ralph Waldo Emerson Dunham, Sr.
Falmouth Kearney
(b. Moneygall, Ireland 1832–1878)
Mary Ann Kearney
Charlotte Holloway
Stanley Armour Dunham
George W Armour
Harry Ellington Armour
Nancy Ann Childress
Ruth Lucille Armour
Christopher Columbus Clark
Gabriella Clark
Susan Catherine Overall
Stanley Ann Dunham
Benjamin F Payne
Charles Thomas Payne
Eliza C Black
Rolla Charles Payne
Robert Wolfley
Della L Wolfley
Rachel Abbott
Madelyn Lee Payne
Harbin Wilburn McCurry
Thomas Creekmore McCurry
Elizabeth Edna Creekmore
Leona Belle McCurry
Joseph Samuel Wright
Margaret Belle Wright
Frances Ann Allred

[25] are sixth cousins, four times removed, through Jacob Dunham.Wild Bill Hickock Stanley Dunham and [24][23][22]'s fourth cousin, twice removed.Harry S. Truman in the mid-18th century, Stanley Dunham is President Kentucky frontier as well as the Germantown, Pennsylvania whose three sons resettled in Bischwiller, Alsace from Swiss German Through another common ancestor, Hans Gutknecht, a [6] (an eighth cousin once removed).Dick Cheney in the 1650s, Stanley Dunham is related to former Vice-President Maryland merchant who emigrated to Huguenot, a wealthy Mareen Duvall Through a common ancestor, [21]

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