Dunham, Norbert Dale

Norbert Dale Dunham, Lt. Colonel, USAF (Retired)
December 10, 1934 – March 28, 2014

Dale Dunham of Half Moon Bay died unexpectedly March 28, 2014.

Born in Marquette, Mich., he spent his childhood in that forested, rural area on Lake Superior. 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, N.M. During his career he served at Edwards Air Force Base in California, K.I. Sawyer base in Marquette, Andrews Air Force Base in Maryland, and in England, France, Ethiopia, India, Vietnam, Okinawa and Washington, D.C. 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 on 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 International 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 Frenchmans 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, sons Daley of San Francisco and Tom of Castle Pines, Colo., stepdaughters Tami Turner of Colorado Springs, Colo., and Terri Rose of Las Vegas, Nev., his grandchildren, and his brother, Tom Dunham, of Marquette.

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

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