Norbert Dale Dunham

HALF MOON BAY, CA – Dale Dunham, 79, of Half Moon Bay died unexpectedly March 28, 2014.

He was born in Marquette, Michigan, to Joseph and Eileen Dunham. Following high school he joined the U.S. Air Force because he wanted to fly. And, indeed, he did: while he flew a number of planes, he settled on being a helicopter pilot.

After 30 years in the U.S. Air Force, he retired as a lieutenant colonel at Kirtland Air Force Base in Albuquerque, New Mexico. During his career he served at Edwards Air Force Base California, K.I. Sawyer base in Marquette, Andrews Air Force Base in Maryland and in England, France, Ethiopia and India. He served as the Commander at Naha Air Base in Okinawa, flew rescue missions in Vietnam, and commanded the Vice President’s Helicopter in Washington, D.C.

During a year on special assignment in Ethiopia, he spent much of his time living in the bush where he enjoyed hunting, as he had during his boyhood in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula. He was proud of his trophies that grace record books and the walls of several natural history museums.

He married Judith Elliott in 1970 and together they raised her three children and had two sons. They moved to California in 1988 and settled in Half Moon Bay in 1990, where Dale took a job as Director of Emergency Planning at the San Francisco Airport. He retired from the airport in 2004 to spend several dedicated years caring for his ailing wife.

After her passing, he became involved in the Coastside and its issues. For several years he was a “conscience” of the Half Moon Bay City Council, speaking eloquently and with humor during the public comment period at nearly every meeting.

In 2009, he married his second wife, Bonnie McClung, who joined him in his Frenchman’s Creek home. There he followed one of his passions by designing and building a koi pond. It was the third one he had built in his life.

For the last five years, Dale and Bonnie Dunham involved themselves with family, friends, travel and making a loving home. “We were feeling young in old age; we were like kids. We loved being together,” said Bonnie. “He had a deep appreciation for nature and the outdoors. He enjoyed beauty, natural and artistic. We stopped for sunsets.”

Dale is survived by his wife, Bonnie of Half Moon Bay; his sons Daley of San Francisco, California and Tom of Castle Pines, Colorado; Stepdaughters Tami Turner of Colorado Springs, Colorado and Terri Rose of Las Vegas, Nevada; his grandchildren; and his brother Tom (Dixie) Dunham of Marquette.

A memorial event, “Remembering Dale,” will be held from 1PM to 4PM on Saturday, April 26 at the Portuguese Cultural Center at 724 Kelly St. in Half Moon Bay, California.