Charles Warren Dunham, age 99, formerly of Odessa, Delaware, passed away peacefully on July 1, 2021 at Sunrise Assisted Living in Bethesda, Maryland. Charlie was born in Norwich, Vermont on May 9, 1922, son of Leslie Lincoln Dunham and Maude Warren Dunham and grew up in Winthrop, Massachusetts, spending his summers on Cape Cod. He graduated from Winthrop High School and Cushing Academy. He received a degree in Horticulture from the University of Massachusetts, followed by a Master’s Degree from the University of Wisconsin and his Doctorate degree from Michigan State University. He was an accomplished athlete and played Tight End on the football team in high school and college. College was interrupted by his service in World War II where he served in France behind the Battle of the Bulge in the 94th Infantry Division for which he received a Bronze Star.
Charlie spent his career as a Professor of Horticulture at the University of Delaware in Newark. He taught, pursued research, and in the later part of his career had a position with the Extension Service working with nurserymen throughout the state. He designed the Clark Garden in front of the School of Agriculture where there is a plague dedicated in his honor.
He was coordinator for the Master Gardeners Program at Longwood Gardens. Many of his former students found jobs at Longwood, Winterthur, and Mt. Cuba. For many years he also was an instructor in Flower Show Schools where Flower Show Judges are trained and certified. He was an admired teacher and mentor to many.
In 1976 Charlie and his beloved wife Phyllis (who he met in the greenhouses at UMass) built a new home and moved to Odessa, Delaware. They quickly become involved in creating new gardens and embracing their new town. Charlie served on the Tree Commission and helped with the design and maintenance of the gardens behind Historic Houses. Charlie belonged to numerous Plant Societies, his favorites being the American Ivy Society and the American Hosta Society. He was a lifelong learner with many varied interests. For many years he belonged to Beagle Club and raised beagles, running them in field trials. He was also a member of a Stamp Club and Writing Club in Odessa. He was an avid reader and lover of poetry who never tired of reading the works of Thoreau and Thomas Jefferson. Charlie was happiest just spending time with Phyllis and his daughters and their families. The family spent many beach vacations in Lewes ,DE.
Charlie is survived by his three adoring daughters, Susan Dunham (David Van Voorhees) of Rockville, Maryland, Leslie Dunham Byron of Washington, New Jersey, and Carol Glismann (Rich) of Sterling, Virginia and his four grandsons, Peter Charles Byron (Michelle) of Clinton, New Jersey, Kevin Byron (Christen) of Easton, Pennsylvania, Warren Glismann (Bethany) of Ashburn, Virginia and Andrew Glismann of Sterling, Virginia. He was predeceased by his loving wife of 60 years, Phyllis Hyatt Dunham, his sister, Harriet Dunham, and his son in law, Peter F. Byron. His beloved dog, Stewie passed away at the age of seventeen one week before his master. Charlie will be remembered fondly by many as a gentle, caring, man of character and will be missed.
A gathering to celebrate Charlie, beloved husband, father, grandfather, colleague and friend will be held in Delaware at a future date.
In lieu of flowers please donate to a charity of your choice or to Historic Odessa Foundation, P.O. Box 697, Odessa, Delaware 19730.
The family of Charles Dunham would like to thank the wonderful staff at Sunrise, especially, Miriam Christenson, Anu Osilesi, Monica Kiyimba and Priyanki Tyagi-Lazarte, along with the many caregivers who assisted him.