Stanley Armour Dunham was born 23 March 1918 in Wichita, Sedgwick County, Kansas, United States to Ralph Waldo Emerson Dunham (1894-1970) and Ruth Lucille Armour (1900-1926) and died 9 March 1992 Honolulu, Hawaii, United States of unspecified causes. He married Madelyn Lee Payne (1922-2008) 5 May 1940 in El Dorado, Kansas, United States.


Stanley is the maternal grandfather of Barack Obama (1961), who lived at his home from boyhood to high school. Obama knew him as "Gramps," and Stanley referred to him as "Bar." Obama sketches Stanley as a man with a wild streak early on who settled down to sell furniture and life insurance.

In high school in El Dorado, Kansas, Stanley was expelled for punching the principal in the nose. His young life was filled with adventures, living off odd jobs, “hopping rail cars to Chicago, then California, then back again, dabbling in moonshine, cards and women,” Obama wrote in his autobiography entitled Dreams from My Father. Described as "gregarious, friendly, impetuous, challenging and loud," he was a furniture salesman "who could charm the legs off a couch."

In 1940 Stanley fell in love with a woman from the good side of the tracks and married her. He eloped with Madelyn Lee Payne (1922-2008) just before the bombing of Pearl Harbor, on Dec. 7, 1941, and he was quick to enlist after the Japanese attack.

“He was really gung-ho,” remembers Ralph. “He didn’t have to go because he was married. He could have held off.”

He was inducted at Fort Leavenworth, Kan., on Jan. 15, 1942.

Six weeks prior to D-Day, "Gramps" was a Supply sergeant stationed at Stoney Cross, England with the 75 men of the 1830th Ordnance Supply and Maintenance Company supporting the 9th Air Force of the US Army Air Corps.[2] His unit followed the front through France, servicing airfields known by numbers - A-2, A-44, A-71, and more - in places such as Brucheville, Cricqueville, St.-Jean-de-Daye, Peray, Clastres, Juvincourt and Saint-Dizier. In February 1945, at Saint-Dizier his unit was transferred to infantry and assigned to Patton's 3rd Army. Prior to that his unit supported 1st Army operations.

Stanley’s older brother Ralph Emerson Dunham, great-uncle to Barack, landed at Normandy's Omaha Easy Red beach on D-Day plus four. [3] Before the Invasion of Normandy, the brothers once met accidentally while Stanley went in search of rations at the Hotel Russell in London, where Ralph happened to be staying. [4]

During the war, Madelyn Dunham worked as supervison on the night shift at a Boeing B-29 assembly line in Wichita. Madelyn gave birth to a daughter whom they named Stanley Ann at Fort Leavenworth on November 29, 1942. After two years of military service in Europe (1943-1945), Stanley was discharged from the U.S. Army on August 30, 1945.

“Gramps returned from the war never having seen real combat, and the family headed to California, where he enrolled at Berkeley under the GI Bill,” Obama wrote. “But the classroom couldn’t contain his ambitions, his restlessness, and so the family moved again, first back to Kansas, then through a series of small Texas towns, then finally to Seattle, where they stayed long enough for my mother to finish high school.”

With Madelyn and Stanley both working full-time, the family moved to Berkeley, California, where Stanley briefly attended the university, but dropped out, then to Ponca City, Oklahoma, then to Vernon, Texas, and then to El Dorado, Kansas, where Stanley managed a furniture store. In 1955, Stanley and Madelyn moved to Seattle, Washington, where he worked as a salesman for the Standard-Grunbaum Furniture Company, and where their daughter Stanley Ann attended Eckstein Middle School. They lived in an apartment in the Wedgewood Estates in the Wedgwood, Seattle neighborhood. In 1956 they moved to the Shorewood Apartments on Mercer Island, a Seattle suburb, where they lived until 1960 and where their daughter Ann Dunham attended Mercer Island High School. In 1957 Stanley began working for the Doces Majestic Furniture Company.[5]

Madelyn and Stanley then moved to Honolulu. Madelyn started working at the Bank of Hawaii in 1960 and was promoted to be one of the first female bank vice presidents in 1970.[6] In 1970s Honolulu, both women and the minority white population were routinely the target of discrimination.[7]


Stanley Dunham died in Honolulu, Hawaii in 1992 and ashes are inurned at there at the Punchbowl National Cemetery. It was a small ceremony with a few of his bridge and golf partners in attendance, a three-gun salute, and a bugle playing taps, according to Obama's biography. Madelyn Dunham took care of her daughter in Hawaii in the months before Ann died in 1995 at age 52.[8] Her last interview was in 2004, on the occasion of her grandson's keynote address to the 2004 Democratic National Convention.[9][10]


Dunham's heritage consists of English and other European ancestors who settled in the American colonies during the 17th and 18th centuries.

Stanley’s first ancestor to be born in the United States was Jonathan Singletary Dunham, born in Newbury, Massachusetts in 1640. [11][12] 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. Kearney's youngest daughter, Mary Ann (Kearney) Dunham, was Stanley Dunham's paternal grandmother.[13]

Stanley Armour Dunham’s distant cousins include six US presidents: James Madison, Harry Truman, Lyndon Johnson, Jimmy Carter, George H. W. Bush and George W. Bush. [14] Through a common ancestor, Mareen Duvall, a wealthy Huguenot merchant who emigrated to Maryland in the 1650s, Stanley Dunham is related to former Vice-President Dick Cheney (an eighth cousin once removed).[1] Through another common ancestor, Hans Gutknecht, a Swiss German from Bischwiller, Alsace whose three sons resettled in Germantown, Pennsylvania as well as the Kentucky frontier in the mid-1700s, Stanley Dunham is President Harry S. Truman's fourth cousin, twice removed.[15][16][17]


Offspring of Stanley Armour Dunham and Madelyn Lee Payne (1922-2008)
Name Birth Death Joined with
Stanley Ann Dunham (1942-1995) 27 November 1942 Wichita, Kansas, United States 7 November 1995 Straub clinic, Honolulu, Hawaii, United States Barack Obama (1936-1982) Barack Obama (1936-1982) Lolo Soetoro (1936)


Stanley Dunham and Madelyn during war.jpg
1,941: Stanley with wife Madelyn. Stanley enlisted in 1941 but does not have his sergeant stripes, so this is likely 1941 after his training at Leavenworth but before he shipped out to England.
Stanley Dunham (1918) WWII photo.jpg

1,944: Handwritten note: "26 October 1944 Somewhere in France. To Dad + the family. With love, Your son, Stanley"

Possibly near Clastres, France since that is where his unit was when they were issued stoves before winter to keep them warm.[1]
Baby Ann Dunham with parents Madelyn and Stanley c1945 .jpg
1,945: Circa 1945 due to apparent age of Ann and since Stanley is still in uniform. If 1945, they would be in Seattle.
Stanley dunham with daughter ann.jpg
1,946: Stanley with Ann aged 4. The family was on vacation at Yosemite National Park, September 14, 1946 while Stanley was at UC Berkeley enrolled under the GI Bill.
1,956: Obama's grandfather, Stanley Dunham in about 1956
Stanley dunham with daughter ann and wife Madelyn.jpg
1,956: Ann appears to be around 14 years old, so this is maybe 1956. Left to right: Ann Dunham (1942-1995), Stanley Armour Dunham (1918-1992), and wife Madelyn Lee Payne (1922)
Barack Obama as boy with Stanley Dunham on beach.jpg
1,967: Barack Obama at beach with Gramps, circa 1967.
1,972: Left to right: Stanley Dunham "Gramps", Barack's Mom, Ann, Barack's sister Maya, Barack Obama (1961). Approximately 1972 or 1973 due to apparent age of Maya.
Obama with Gramps Ann Maya 1975.jpg
1,972: Ann Dunham, "Gramps" Stanley Dunham, with Maya and Barack
Obama at Punaho graduation.jpg
1,979: Obama at his Punahou High School graduation, with his mother and maternal grandfather "Gramps".


Footnotes (including sources)

‡ General
Ω Birth
₪ Wedding
  • Some sources report May 4th as date of Marriage
  • See Chicago Sun Times for date
§ Remains
  • Location of Stanley's ashes at Punchbowl National cemetery is: Section CT1-B Row 400 Site 440
  • Barack Obama wrote in Dreams of my Father: " It was a small ceremony with a few of his bridge and golf partners in attendance, a three-gun salute, and a bugle playing taps, according to Obama's biography."
  • Veteran affairs gravesite locator- search on Dunham, at National Memorial of the Pacific

AMK152, Phlox


  1. ^ a b Fornek, Scott (September 9, 2007). "Mareen Duvall: No More Striking Figure". Chicago Sun-Times.,BSX-News-wotreej09.stng. Retrieved 2008-06-16. 
  2. ^ Benac, Nancy (May 31, 2009). "Obama's Gramps: Backing Patton's army after D-Day". Associated Press. Retrieved June 1, 2009. 
  3. ^ Benac, Nancy (May 31, 2009). "Obama's Gramps: Backing Patton's army after D-Day". Associated Press. Retrieved June 1, 2009. 
  4. ^ Benac, Nancy (May 31, 2009). "Obama's Gramps: Backing Patton's army after D-Day". Associated Press. Retrieved June 1, 2009. 
  5. ^ Dougherty, Phil (2009-02-07). "Stanley Ann Dunham, mother of Barack Obama, graduates from Mercer Island High School in June 1960". Retrieved 2009-02-10. 
  6. ^ Nakaso, Dan (2008-03-30). "Obama's tutu a female pioneer in Hawaii banking". Honolulu Advertiser. Retrieved 2008-04-04. 
  7. ^ Nakaso, Dan (2008-04-11). "Family precedent: Obama's grandmother blazed trails". USA Today. Retrieved 2008-04-11. 
  8. ^ Scott, Janny (2008-03-14). "A Free-Spirited Wanderer Who Set Obama’s Path". The New York Times. Retrieved 2008-03-22. 
  9. ^ Fornek, Scott (2007-09-09). "Madelyn Payne Dunham: A trailblazer". Chicago Sun-Times.,BSX-News-wotreeee09.article. Retrieved 2008-03-22. 
  10. ^ Jones, Tim (2007-03-27). "Obama's mom: Not just a girl from Kansas". Chicago Tribune. Archived from the original on 2007-11-24.,0,589824,full.story. Retrieved 2008-03-22. 
  11. ^ Reitwiesner, William Addams. "Ancestry of Barack Obama". Retrieved 2008-10-09. 
  12. ^ "Family tree". Retrieved 2009-06-06. 
  13. ^ Fornek, Scott (September 9, 2007). "Falmouth Kearney". Chicago Sun-Times.,BSX-News-wotreem09.stng. Retrieved 2008-06-16. 
  14. ^ "President Barack Obama's Ancestors and Kinships". Retrieved 2009-06-06. 
  15. ^ Forek, Scott (September 9, 2007). "CHRISTIAN GUTKNECHT-GOODNIGHT: 'The dark and bloody ground'". Chicago Sun-Times.,BSX-News-wotreeb09.article. Retrieved March 20, 2009. 
  16. ^ Harneis, Robert (January 20, 2009). "Goodnight Mr. President". French News. Retrieved March 20, 2009. 
  17. ^ Fornek, Scott (2007-09-09). "Catherine Goodnight Dunham:Six degrees of Barack Obama". Chicago Sun-Times.,BSX-News-wotreec09.stng. Retrieved 2009-02-26. 
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