Our Friend George
By Angela Kellogg
Cleaver Managing Editor
With the passing this week of our friend George Dunham, Harrison has suffered a great loss. George was an involved member of the Harrison Area Genealogical Society, the Clare County Historical Society, the American Legion Honor Guard and the Twenty Lakes Antique Engine and Tractor Association.
The County Press in his hometown of Lapeer recently published a story about George and his family farm. He was 84 years old and the last of six children born on a 123-acre dairy farm. He was old enough to remember the team of threshers and steam engine that went from farm to farm, threshing grain. George and Nancy Dunham moved to Harrison in 1993 and made quick friends as members of the history groups and patrons at the Harrison District Library.
His beloved wife Nancy passed away in 2016 after 60 of marriage. Nancy shared George’s interest in genealogy and together they spent many volunteer hours with the genealogical society. George helped create and maintain “Chiseled in Stone”, a large book of burials in Clare County. George was one of a few volunteers spending time in cemeteries in the county to painstakingly document each gravesite and compile the information. He worked to compile many other records also, preserving history and documenting families for future generations.
President of the Clare County Historical Society Joe Bradley was a close friend of George’s and considered him a second father. Joe recently spoke of his energy and the “get up and go” he had taking care of local cemeteries into his 80s. Mostly, Bradley remembers what a good friend he was and how he could make people laugh. Even at the end when he visited George last week his humor never left him.
George often assisted with tours of students at the Clare County Historical Society museum complex. His own photo hung in the museum from his service in the 1950s. Although no mention of the Civil war was present in their tour, students would later write George to thank him for his service during the Civil War. He took it all humorously and some of those letters still hang next to his Korean War era uniform in the museum. Bradley said he was humble about his military service and never thought he deserved any special recognition for it.
George was known for leading the American Legion Honor Guard.
Other historical society members have fond memories of him. “Wherever there was a meeting about history George was there, and he even attended a lot of township meetings too.” member Andy Coulson recalled.
George was the guest of honor at last year’s annual Old-Fashioned Days at the historical society. Members wore buttons with his photo on them and George was there telling his stories and visiting.
No one could tell a story like George. He could read a story from the newspaper and have an entire meeting full of people laughing off their chairs. To know George was to love him. Life was a fun time for him and anyone who was around him.
The family has asked to fulfill his wish for donations to go to Clare County Historical Society 7050 S. Eberhart Ave, Clare, MI 48617 or Lapeer VFW Post 4139 128 Daley Rd., Lapeer, MI 48446.