Stanley Armour Dunham
Born(1918-03-23)March 23, 1918
Wichita, Kansas, U.S.
DiedFebruary 8, 1992(1992-02-08) (aged 73)
Honolulu, Hawaii, U.S.
Allegiance United States of America
United States Army
Years of service1942–1945
Unit1830th Ordnance Supply and Maintenance Company
Third Army
Battles/warsWorld War II
(m. after 1940)
RelationsStanley Ann Dunham (daughter)
Barack Obama (grandson)
Other workSalesman

Stanley Armour Dunham (March 23, 1918 – February 8, 1992) was the maternal grandfather of the 44th U.S. President Barack Obama. He and his wife Madelyn Payne Dunham raised Obama from the age of 10 in Honolulu, Hawaii.[1][2]

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).[3] 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 Hotel.[5][6]

On November 25, 1926, at age 8, Dunham discovered his mother's body after she had committed suicide. Subsequently, Dunham's father placed him and his older brother Ralph Waldo Emerson Dunham, Jr. in the care of their maternal grandparents in El Dorado, Kansas.[6] A rebellious teenager, Dunham allegedly punched his high school principal and spent some time drifting, hopping rail cars to Chicago, California, and back again.[7] He married Madelyn Lee Payne on May 5, 1940, the night of her senior prom.[8]

Later life

World War II

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. Dunham and his brother were deployed to France six weeks after D-Day. Before the Invasion of Normandy, the brothers once met accidentally as Stanley Dunham went in search of rations at a hotel in London, where his brother Ralph Dunham happened to be staying.[9] Madelyn Dunham gave birth to their daughter Stanley Ann Dunham, 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.[10][11]

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 so he could pursue study at the University of California, Berkeley and then eventually back to El Dorado, Kansas, where Dunham managed a furniture store. In 1955, after the Dunhams moved to Seattle, Washington, Dunham worked as a salesman for the Standard-Grunbaum Furniture Company, and his daughter Ann attended middle school. The family lived in an apartment in the Wedgwood Estates in the Wedgwood, Seattle neighborhood. In 1956 they moved to the Shorewood Apartments on Mercer Island, a Seattle suburb. Ann attended high school there, and they stayed until she graduated in 1960. In 1957, Dunham started working for the Doces Majestic Furniture Company.[12][13][14]


The family then moved to Honolulu, Hawaii, where Dunham found a better furniture store opportunity. Madelyn Dunham started working at the Bank of Hawaii in 1960, and was promoted as one of the bank's first female vice presidents in 1970.[15][16]

In Barack Obama's memoir, Dreams From My Father, he wrote, "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". At 10 years old, Barack Obama moved in with the Dunhams in Honolulu to attend school in the U.S. while his mother and stepfather Lolo Soetoro were living in Jakarta, Indonesia. His mother later came back to Hawaii to pursue graduate studies, but when she returned to Indonesia in 1977 for her master's fieldwork, Obama stayed in the United States with his grandparents. Obama wrote 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".[17][18]


Dunham died in Honolulu, Hawaii on February 8, 1992 and is interred in the Punchbowl National Cemetery.[17]


Dunham's heritage consists of English and Irish and other European ancestors who settled in the American colonies during the 17th and 18th centuries. Dunham is a direct descendant 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.[19]

Stanley Dunham's distant cousins include six U.S. presidents - and another president who is Dunham's grandson: James Madison, Harry Truman, Lyndon Johnson, Jimmy Carter, George H. W. Bush and George W. Bush, plus Barack Obama, his grandson. [20] Through a common ancestor, Mareen Duvall, a wealthy Huguenot merchant who emigrated to Maryland in the 1650s, Dunham is related to former Vice-President Dick Cheney (an eighth cousin once removed).[6] Through another common ancestor, Hans Gutknecht, a German Swiss from Bischwiller, Alsace whose three sons resettled in Germantown, Pennsylvania as well as the Kentucky frontier in the mid-18th century, Dunham is President Harry S. Truman's fourth cousin, twice removed.[21][22][23] Dunham and Wild Bill Hickock are sixth cousins, four times removed, through Jacob Dunham.[24]

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

Ancestry chart source: William Addams Reitwiesner.[25]


  1. ^ Scott, Janny (March 14, 2008). "A free-spirited wanderer who set Obama's path". The New York Times. p. A1. Retrieved February 13, 2009.
  2. ^ "Obama had Multiethnic Existence in Hawaii". February 6, 2007. Retrieved February 9, 2008.
  3. ^ Powell, Kimberly. "Ancestry of Barack Obama - Fourth Generation". Retrieved March 19, 2008.
  4. ^ See The Dunham House.
  5. ^ Peters, Susan (January 22, 2008). "President Obama: From Kansas to the Capital". KAKEland. Archived from the original on February 14, 2012. Retrieved June 1, 2009.
  6. ^ a b c Fornek, Scott (September 9, 2007). "Mareen Duvall: No More Striking Figure". Chicago Sun-Times. Archived from the original on July 25, 2008. Retrieved June 16, 2008.
  7. ^ "Obama's Gramps: Gazing skyward on D-Day". Today News. NBC News. Associated Press. June 1, 2009. Archived from the original on August 14, 2009. Retrieved June 6, 2009.
  8. ^ Jones, Tim (March 27, 2007). "Obama's mom: Not just a girl from Kansas". Chicago Tribune. Archived from the original on November 24, 2007. Retrieved March 22, 2008.
  9. ^ Benac, Nancy (May 31, 2009). "Obama's Gramps: Backing Patton's army after D-Day". Associated Press. Archived from the original on January 19, 2015. Retrieved June 1, 2009.
  10. ^ "Obama seeks foothold in America's heartland". Kansas City Star. January 29, 2008. Archived from the original on December 22, 2008. Retrieved March 22, 2008.
  11. ^ Zeleny, Jeff (November 4, 2008). "Madelyn Dunham, Obama's grandmother, dies at 86". The New York Times. Retrieved November 4, 2008.
  12. ^ Dougherty, Phil (February 7, 2009). "Stanley Ann Dunham, mother of Barack Obama, graduates from Mercer Island High School in June 1960". Retrieved February 10, 2009.
  13. ^ "Obama's grandparents and mom once lived in Oklahoma", Tulsa World, Associated Press, October 3, 2013 [2009], archived from the original on December 30, 2016
  14. ^ Stapleton, Wanda Jo (August 25, 2012), "Shriver, Obama: American Success Stories" (PDF), The Oklahoma Observer, p. 10, archived from the original (PDF) on December 30, 2016
  15. ^ Murray, Shailagh (November 3, 2008). "Obama's Grandmother Dies". Washington Post. Retrieved November 3, 2008.
  16. ^ Nakaso, Dan (March 30, 2008). "Obama's tutu a female pioneer in Hawaii banking". Honolulu Advertiser. Retrieved April 4, 2008.[permanent dead link]
  17. ^ a b Scott, Janny (March 14, 2008). "A Free-Spirited Wanderer Who Set Obama's Path". The New York Times. Retrieved March 22, 2008.
  18. ^ Meacham, Jon (August 23, 2008). "What Barack Obama Learned from His Father". Newsweek. p. 3. Archived from the original on October 25, 2008. Retrieved October 24, 2008.
  19. ^ Fornek, Scott (September 9, 2007). "Falmouth Kearney". Chicago Sun-Times. Archived from the original on July 24, 2008. Retrieved June 16, 2008.
  20. ^ "President Barack Obama's Ancestors and Kinships". Archived from the original on January 6, 2010. Retrieved June 6, 2009.
  21. ^ Forek, Scott (September 9, 2007). "CHRISTIAN GUTKNECHT-GOODNIGHT: 'The dark and bloody ground'". Chicago Sun-Times. Archived from the original on March 4, 2009. Retrieved March 20, 2009.
  22. ^ Harneis, Robert (January 20, 2009). "Goodnight Mr. President". French News. Archived from the original on January 31, 2009. Retrieved March 20, 2009.
  23. ^ Fornek, Scott (September 9, 2007). "Catherine Goodnight Dunham:Six degrees of Barack Obama". Chicago Sun-Times. Archived from the original on February 26, 2009. Retrieved February 26, 2009.
  24. ^ Boston Genealogical Society Confirms Obama and "Wild Bill" Hickok Are Cousins New England Historic Genealogical Society, 2008-07-30. Retrieved January 13, 2013.
  25. ^ Reitwiesner, William Addams. "Ancestry of Barack Obama". William Addams Reitwiesner Genealogical Services. Retrieved March 7, 2019.