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Edith Williams Dunham

October 16, 2009
Lake Placid News
    KEENE VALLEY — Edith Williams Dunham, 86, of St. Huberts, Naples, Fla. and East Orleans, Mass., died Friday, October 2, 2009 in Naples.

    She was the daughter of Charles Wyatt Williams and Hope Johnson Williams.

    Mrs. Dunham attended Riverdale Country Day School, graduated from Emma Willard  in 1940 and Wellesley College, Class of 1944, where she majored in zoology. She later worked at St. Luke’s Hospital in New York. .

    She married Navy Air Corps Pilot Lieutenant John “Jake” Edgar Nearing on July 22, 1944, son of Mr. and Mrs. Max Nearing of Cleveland, Ohio. Mr. Nearing, who served in the Pacific and was later highly decorated, died in World War II. Their daughter was the late Susan Hope Nearing Dunham.

    On Sept. 27, 1947 Edith married William Putnam Dunham  and they settled in Riverdale, where she was active in the Junior League.  Mr. Dunham was district sales manager for the Stokey Van Camp Honor Brand Products, an executive at General Foods, president of the Premium Advertising Association of America and later helped form and served as president of Dunham, Luttmann and O’Brien, a specialty-marketing firm.

    In 1955, the Dunhams moved to Chappaqua, where Mrs. Dunham was active as treasurer of the SPCA of Westchester County, the Chappaqua Cub Scouts, reading programs for youth in need and the Republican Party of New Castle where her husband served on the town board for nine years. They raised Susan Hope (Hopie), Sally, Bill Jr. and Ann along with countless animals ranging from turtles to guinea pigs to horses.

    In 1977, the Dunhams moved to Ridgefield, Conn. In 1989, they moved to Bentley Village in Naples, Fla.

    She and her husband spent active summers in East Orleans, Mass. where she was a supporter of the Nauset Heights Association and in the Adirondacks at the Ausable Club in St. Hubert’s, where her late husband served as president.

    Mrs. Dunham was a  maternal granddaughter of Elias  M. Johnson, founder of the Johnson Ironworks located in the Spuyten Duyvil section of the Bronx. Her father, Charles Wyatt Williams, served as commissioner of the Bureau of Works under Mayor Laguardia. Her mother, the late Hope Johnson Williams, was beloved by the Riverdale community and beyond.

    Mrs. Dunham is survived by her sister, Susan Williams Miller of Carmel, Calif.; three children: Sally Dunham Taylor of Aurora, Colo., William Putnam Dunham (Nelie Maitre) of Belmont, Mass. and Ann Dunham Hartson (Michael) of Keene; six grandchildren: Kevin Alan Taylor, Kristen Taylor D’Acquisto (Andrew), Hilary Ann Hartson, Brooke Michael Hartson, Henry Wyatt Dunham and Melanie Hope Dunham.

     She was predeceased by her husband William Putnam Dunham and daughter Susan Hope Dunham. 

    No calling hours will be held. A funeral service was conducted Saturday, Oct. 10 by Rev. Milton Dudley at the Keene Valley Congregational Church. 

    In lieu of flowers, donations to ALS Assoc. 27001 Agoura Rd, #250 Casabas Hills, CA 01301 or North Country SPA 23, Lakeshore Road, Westport, NY 12993 would be appreciated.

    W.M. Marvin’s Sons funeral home in Elizabethtown was in charge of arrangements. For online condolences, visit



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