William Earl Dunham
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William Earl Dunham
  • March 7, 1924 - August 3, 2017
  • Waco, Texas

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Another member of "The Greatest Generation" has left us!

It is with great sadness that the Dunham Family says "Good-bye" to its patriarch, William Earl Dunham (Uncle Bill). Uncle Bill died Thursday, August 3, 2017 in Waco, Texas where he has resided for the last 24 years. He was 93 years old. He was predeceased by his parents, Arthur F. Dunham and Beatrice (Woods) Dunham, and his two older brothers and their wives, Arthur R. Dunham, Sr. (Margaret Chandler and Mary Ward) and George W. Dunham (Alice Vanasse and Laura Moniz), and his nephew, George D. Dunham, all of Fall River, Massachusetts.

Uncle Bill was born March 17, 1924 in Fall River, Massachusetts and graduated from B. M. C. Durfee High School in June, 1942 (though he was unable to attend the graduation ceremony because he had enlisted in the United States Navy December 15, 1941 after the attack on Pearl Harbor). He served with his two brothers on the USS Niblack, a destroyer, from 1942 - 1944 serving in Iceland, Ireland, Scotland, Morocco, Algeria, Italy and France. He then served on the USS De Long, a training ship for officers and men that were about to embark on ships assigned to anti-submarine warfare duties.

While Uncle Bill served on the USS De Long, his brothers, Bob and George, remained on the USS Niblack and served on that ship during the Invasion of Normandy in 1944. After the invasion, Bob remained on the USS Niblack, George transferred to the USS Los Angeles, a cruiser, and Uncle Bill transferred to the USS Harry L. Corl, a high-speed transport ship. All three of the brothers served in the Pacific until the end of World War II.

Uncle Bill achieved the rank of BM 2nd Class and at one point, outranked both his older brothers. He received the American Area Victory Medal, European Theater Medal (3 Stars) and the Asiatic/Pacific Medal. After World War II, he attended Trans World Airlines Aviation, Flight and Mechanics & Engines School. He was hired by National Airlines in Miami, Florida. Eventually National Airlines merged with Pan American Airlines from which he retired after 41 years of service.

Uncle Bill's passion was old movies (silent pictures, films of the 30's, 40's, 50's and 3D movies) and photography. He went to Los Angeles and Hollywood and was fortunate to meet several of his favorite actors and directors. He loved taking pictures and experimenting with his cameras and photography.
We were so fortunate to have Uncle Bill in our lives. He shared his memories of his brothers, our fathers, and told us stories our fathers had never told us. He shared with us stories of the three of them growing up and the three of them during World War II and about our fathers who served during the Korean War. He helped us learn about our family from generations we never met. He was a great historian with a great memory and a great storyteller.

He is survived by his nephews, Arthur R. Dunham, Jr. of Raleigh, North Carolina and Wesley A. Dunham of Fall River; his nieces, Beatrice Dunham of New Bedford; Deborah L. Dunham of Davis, California; Nancy A. Margetta of Fall River; Gale Moore of Woodland, California; Cheryl A. Chaplin of Fall River; Georgeann Silvia of Swansea; Pamela Dunham Oliver and Valerie Oliveira of Fall River; Lori Dunham of North Dartmouth; their respective partners and spouses; twenty-two great nieces and nephews; seventeen great-great nieces and nephews and one great-great-great nephew.

A memorial service will be held on Saturday, August 12, 2017, Visitation at 9:00 am, Service at 10:00 am at Waring-Sullivan Home of Memorial Tribute at Cherry Place, 178 Winter Street, Fall River, Massachusetts. Immediately following the memorial service, interment will be at Oak Grove Cemetery, 765 Prospect Street, Fall River, Massachusetts.

In lieu of flowers gifts may be made in his memory to Stilwell Retirement Residence, 5400 Laurel Lake Drive, Waco, Texas 76710.